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Advancement News

Kent State Announces Record-Breaking Giving in 2008-09

Posted Aug. 3, 2009

Supporters of Kent State University committed more than $37 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, shattering the institution’s previous record by nearly $9 million.

“Great universities are marked by a culture of philanthropy,” President Lester Lefton says. “With this record-breaking year and steadily growing support during the past half-decade, we stand firmly in a new era at Kent State that promises to ensure student achievement while broadening our stature as Northeast Ohio’s leading public research university.”

Because so many students, as well as their parents, faced unemployment and other financial difficulties during the past 12 months, the university made support for student scholarships its main fundraising focus. Donors showed great empathy to that rising student need, committing more than $5.4 million to new scholarships.

“With the market downturn and constant string of poor economic news during the past year, many universities have reported significant drops in contributions,” says Gene Finn, vice president for institutional advancement. “But our supporters have repeatedly demonstrated through their giving that they believe our vision and direction are on the right track, pushing us to a new level that will provide crucial resources to our students.”

Among the highlights in the past year was a 22.8 percent increase in donors to the Campaign for Change. The two-year-old program, which encourages student philanthropy, was able to endow a scholarship for the first time after an 89 percent surge in the fund.

Additionally, individual donors to other university priorities, on average, increased their contributions by almost 8 percent. Kent State’s previous yearly fundraising record was $28.5 million, set in fiscal year 2008.

For the coming year, President Lefton and every member of his cabinet have committed to donating their salary raises to an emergency scholarship fund for students.

“The heart of the university’s excellence agenda is a focus on student opportunity and success,” Lefton says. “When we saw financial difficulties were interfering with our students’ ability to continue in their programs, we took that message to our alumni and friends — who responded, as we were confident they would, by aiding the next generation of scholars in a meaningful and important way.”