Coming off one of the top fundraising years in its history, Colorado State University is closing in on its billion-dollar goal in the State Your Purpose campaign.
Colorado State brought in $152.7 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year – the fourth largest total in CSU history. CSU not only surpassed the $150 million mark for the fifth consecutive year, it posted one of the highest totals ever among Colorado universities.
“We have been successful in building support among our alumni and friends because they understand the value of what this great university is bringing to our state, our nation and the world,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “We’re proud to be able to build momentum going forward and to making progress toward our very ambitious $1 billion goal.”
CSU officials project they will cross the billion-dollar mark well in advance of the June 30, 2020, scheduled end of the campaign when the University, founded in 1870, celebrates its 150th birthday. To date, CSU has raised $956 million in the campaign, which officially launched in 2016.
“When we set the $1 billion goal, we knew in our hearts that our donors would rise to the challenge. We just didn’t know it would happen this quickly,” said Kim Tobin, vice president for university advancement. “It’s a testament to their passion for CSU and excitement about everything we are doing here.”
Education and leadership
Among the many highlights from the fiscal year was the record-breaking Love Your State Day of Giving, which raised $729,500 from 1,748 donors. The gifts came from 41 states, provided 2,809 meals to Rams Against Hunger, and supported 20 scholarship funds.
While Canvas Stadium and numerous state-of-the-art academic buildings have been built during the last five years, the most impactful aspect of the campaign is the educational opportunities created for students. Nearly 100 scholarship funds were established in 2017-18, bringing the overall number for the campaign to more than 500.
Those scholarships created opportunities for students like Kristen Schmidt to not only earn an education but also develop leadership skills during her CSU journey.
Schmidt, who graduated in May with degrees in animal science and agricultural business, is a first-generation college student from Greeley. Thanks to multiple scholarships, she is leaving CSU debt-free as she prepares for a job with Cargill in Wichita, Kan.
“My scholarships helped me dig deeper into my educational experience by getting involved across campus,” Schmidt said. “I think the thing that a lot of students miss is that intangible aspect of a college education because they spend so much time working to pay their bills. I worked as well, but I was fortunate enough to have pretty much everything paid for.”
Scholarships create opportunities
While Schmidt was a classroom standout, her experience outside the classroom helped prepare her for the professional world. She was national vice president of Future Farmers of America as a junior, served as president of the CSU Rodeo Club, and was an Ag Ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences.
“I can’t thank donors enough for creating those scholarships,” she said. “It really says something about someone who chooses to invest in students. It’s as if they are saying, ‘Yes, I believe in you, and here’s something to help.’ It’s really empowering.”
“Our alumni and friends care deeply about our students, ensuring they have the bright futures they deserve,” said Tobin. “A sincere thank you to each and every donor who, through their remarkable generosity, supports our students and programs in so many profound ways.”