Comprehensive campaign designed to raise $50 million

Emily Simmons

A $50 million fundraising campaign has been set into motion and promises improvements across campus based on the needs and wishes of staff, students, and the community.

Tony Vidmar
Tony Vidmar

“This campaign is about building resources to help MSU become even greater,” Anthony Vidmar, newly hired vice president of university advancement and public affairs, said.

Vidmar is leading the planning and implementation of this comprehensive campaign. A comprehensive campaign supports programs of all types, and focuses on the priorities of an institution. Vidmar said he wants to increase the amount of resources for students so they can invest in an education that will benefit them after graduation.

“The campaign is about helping to make sure that the future value of an MSU diploma is even more worthwhile than the current value,” Vidmar said.

The campaign will depend on alumni, current students, staff, and donors to fulfill Vidmar’s three goals that will lead to the success of the campaign. Vidmar said the campaign’s focus will be on increasing awareness of MSU, increasing engagement in MSU, and increasing the giving to MSU.

“I want to connect to our donors to MSU in a way that’s most meaningful to them,” Vidmar said.

This campaign raises money by increasing awareness and involvement with the school and Vidmar said he hopes this will increase the numbers of donors.

Vidmar said he is encouraging involvement from young alumni to spread awareness of the school and its programs.

In addition, the campaign will tie into the school’s long-term strategic plan, putting donations into endowments, which allow money from donors to be invested, and earnings to be spent over time.

A campaign like this has not been launched before at MSU, largely because a few wealthy donors, in addition to state funding, have supplied the school’s needs.

“The school built a local-based philanthropy that served them very well, but now the college and its needs are growing,” Vidmar said.

Vidmar said it is time to find donors who want to further reward the students and their growing programs.

Raising the $50 million takes place over the next seven years beginning in spring of 2017.

“Comprehensive campaigns typically go from six to 10 years. It’s not something you want to rush,” Vidmar said.

Results of the campaign will be seen throughout the seven years, and improvements will be implemented as money is made available.

“It’s a process, not an event,” Vidmar said.

Vidmar said they hope to have most of the money raised by 2022, MSU’s centennial year.

“What are the next 100 years at MSU going to be like? We’re setting the stage,” Vidmar said.

After six informational sessions in mid November, the campaign is in its quiet phase of planning and development, and Vidmar said they want to raise about 70 percent toward their goal before the public phase of the campaign begins. During the public phase, the community will be more involved.

“Right now we want to solicit input and get people interested,” Vidmar said.

Vidmar conducted public forums for students, staff, and the community to gather data toward determining the priorities of the campaign.

“We’re trying to match the needs of the staff and students, and we want people to talk about their visions for MSU,” Vidmar said.

At the forums, participants discussed issues and priorities to spend the money on, including scholarships, increase in staff salary, renovations for Bolin Hall, updating technology across campus, and providing more space for students to meet and work together in groups.

“The money will probably be divided between academics, athletics, arts, and university programs,” Vidmar said.

Linda Veazey, associate professor of political science, said, “I hope the school will keep a focus on academics when thinking about how to use the funds raised.”

At the student forum, about eight students voiced a need for a centralized tutoring center, multipurpose stadium, improved dining spaces, and more scholarships. Several of the needs cited by students overlapped with the staff’s wishes, and the staff also brought up a need for a modernized library, graduate school for fine arts, more offices and more parking.

Lindsey Odom, music education sophomore, said she hoped part of the money raised would go toward a new performance hall to replace Akin Auditorium, which has become too small to accommodate the school’s growing ensembles.

At the community forums, emphasis was placed on the importance of the art museum, university programs, and upgrading technology and buildings.

Vidmar said many of the suggestions made by staff, students, and the community could be put into action depending on how successful the campaign is. The forums provided the university’s wish list, and Vidmar said people were realistic about what they wanted from the campaign.“We’ll use the input from the forums to build our case statement, which will outline why someone should consider giving to MSU. This case statement will be presented to all of our donors,” Vidmar said.

Vidmar said he appreciated the relationship between MSU and the community, and was grateful for the people who wanted to learn more about this campaign.

“We’re grateful for the involvement from the staff, students, and community toward building this campaign,” Vidmar said.

What do the students want?

Georgia Magee, biology freshman, said, “We need newer lab equipment in Bolin, and newer animals to dissect.”

Holden Hall, computer science sophomore, said, “Bolin needs remodeling, and we could use more scholarships.”

Daniel Espinoza, music education sophomore, said, “We need a new performance hall because Akin isn’t big enough anymore to accommodate our bigger groups.”

Gabrielle Stokes, nursing sophomore, said, “An interactive hospital for simulations would be really useful.”

Camille Khan, radiology sophomore, said, “A new band hall would be great, and McCullough-Trigg needs repairs.”

Ciera Phillips, psychology junior, said, “We definitely need more parking spots.”

Whitney Atkinson, English sophomore, said, “We could use better food services, more classroom space, and more safety measures.”

Pride and priorities – Results of the forums

Students

  • Pride in: low cost of school, close community, faculty/student relationships, benefits of a big school with the feeling of a small private school, feeling heard/like students can make a difference, feeling appreciated by the school
  • Priorities: scholarships, centralized tutoring center, multipurpose stadium, expanded student center, improved dining spaces, more recruiting, more advertising

Staff

  • Pride in: commitment to students, cultural diversity, research programs, success of athletic program, success of alumni, class sizes, liberal arts emphasis, community involvement
  • Priorities: increased salaries, grant support, advanced technology, performing arts center, more parking, green initiatives, graduate research, safety measures for Sikes Lake, budget realignment, acquisition of land around campus, more lab space

Community

  • Pride in: small classes, strength of programs, campus beauty, Greek organizations, affordability, athletic program, success of alumni, Fantasy of Lights, fine arts program
  • Priorities: expand Bolin Hall, football stadium, Greek housing, upgraded math and science facilities, increase online programs, baseball, address understaffing, new police headquarters, upgraded surveillance equipment, daycare, more resources for marketing and promotions