Jeff Whorley glances at a photo of his late uncle, Nobel laureate and MTSU alumnus James M. Buchanan, during a May 9, 2013, special celebration of Buchanan’s life outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. (MTSU News)
Middle Tennessee State University recorded its second-largest fundraising total in its history during the 2012-13 fiscal year, bringing in almost $14 million in gifts from more than 9,000 donors, officials announced Wednesday.
The totals from the university’s last fiscal year, which ended June 30, has helped MTSU pass the 85 percent mark toward its $80 million Centennial Campaign. That effort now stands at more than $70 million, with 17,721 donors.
“This was a game-changing type of year for the university in fundraising, in terms of the number of gifts, alumni participation and the diversity of giving,” said Joe Bales, MTSU’s vice president for university advancement. “It was a good year all the way around.”
MTSU had its highest annual total of alumni gifts in 2012-13, recording 5,287 separate donations and just eclipsing the 2009 record of 5,275.
The year-end total of $13,954,495 is surpassed only by the record 2001-02 total of about $14.4 million tallied by MTSU when it received a gift of more than $10 million that led to the creation of the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
Development Director Nick Perlick described it as a “very balanced year” for giving, with a solid blend of planned estate gifts, major one-time donations and annual contributions.
“The efforts of our Centennial Campaign are beginning to pay off,” Perlick said. “We are seeing solid increases in the number of people who share in the vision of the university and are willing to step up and invest in its success.”
The Centennial Campaign, publicly launched in April 2012 at the end of the observance of the 100th anniversary of MTSU’s founding, is the largest fundraising campaign in university history.
President Sidney A. McPhee said the campaign has four distinct priorities, “which are unique in their own right and vital to our success as an institution.” These priorities are:
· Maintaining an exceptional student body, by bolstering scholarships and student aid;
· Assuring the highest quality faculty and staff, by increasing tools needed to improve recruitment, retention and graduation.
· Fostering an innovative learning environment, by building partnerships, learning spaces and programs that support the needs of the 21st century workforce;
· And competing at the highest levels athletically, by focusing on top-notch competition and facilities, while focusing on academic success in the classroom.
McPhee said each priority “focuses on enhancing the quality of education and assuring the success of our students, faculty and alumni — things that most directly impact the total quality of the university.”
The campaign was originally targeted to raise $61 million, but was increased to $80 million after it reached $55 million in pledges and gifts before the public stage of the campaign was announced.
McPhee said the 2012-13 total was “a remarkable achievement and a testament to the leadership” of Bales, the university’s development team and the campaign’s alumni chair Pamela Wright and vice chair Don Witherspoon.
Included in this year’s totals was a $2.5 million gift announced in April from the estate of the late James Buchanan, MTSU alumnus, namesake of the Buchanan Fellowships and the winner of the 1986 Nobel Memorial Prize in economics.
Buchanan designated his gift to support MTSU’s Honors College; it was the largest gift ever given to that college. His bequest will help establish a lecture series focused on applying Buchanan's ideas to today's economic questions and extending the fellowships in his name.
Buchanan’s heirs also will allow the university to display the Nobel medal on campus.
Bales said more than half of the 2012-13 gifts were designated for student scholarships and faculty support. “We had gifts from a couple of dollars to a couple of million dollars and they all are important,” he said.