UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State alumni and friends gave or pledged $364.2 million during the first year of the University’s new fundraising effort, For the Future, the Campaign for Penn State Students. The campaign began on Jan. 1, 2007, and is in its early leadership gifts phase.
By comparison, the amount raised in those first 12 months exceeds the total sum raised -— $352 million — during the entirety of the University’s first comprehensive campaign, which ran from 1984 to 1990.
University President Graham Spanier noted that 150,140 donors made commitments during the 2007 calendar year.
“The extraordinary generosity shown by individuals, corporations, foundations and other organizations is extremely encouraging,” he said. “Philanthropy has become essential to enabling Penn State to carry on its mission of teaching, research and public service.
“Our success also stems from the hard work of our campaign chair, Peter Tombros, and the dedicated team he has recruited to provide volunteer leadership for this fundraising initiative.”
For the Future gives its highest priorities to ensuring that a Penn State education remains accessible to students regardless of their financial means, and to strengthening the qualities that make Penn State a student-centered university.
“My fellow Penn State alumni have responded enthusiastically to these campaign objectives, nearly 75,000 of them made commitments in 2007,” Tombros said. “That’s a gratifying start. Our campaign’s objectives have clearly resonated early on with our donors, but the University’s challenges are great and this is only a beginning. We will continue to seek major commitments throughout this campaign, particularly in areas where Penn State can address important societal issues.”
Of the total gifts and pledges received thus far, donors have designated $124 million directly for student priorities, such as scholarships, graduate fellowships, enhanced opportunities for leadership and service, honors education, career counseling, and study abroad.
Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rod Kirsch said, “At the leadership gifts level, the campaign has received 65 commitments of $1 million or more, eleven of which exceeded $5 million. Among those gifts, we have seen long-time donors whose confidence and pride in the University have caused them to renew their commitments at very high levels. We’ve also seen new donors who have been attracted by the chance to put their own mark on the future of Penn State.”
For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students involves all 24 of the University’s campuses across Pennsylvania.
The campaign’s total dollar goal and specific timeline are yet to be determined, and will be announced as part of the celebratory kick-off to the public phase, planned for 2010.