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Advancement News

Centennial Campaign Reaches $200 Million During Record Fundraising Year

Posted Oct. 5, 2010

For the second year in a row, supporters of Kent State have contributed a record-breaking sum — and pushed the Centennial Campaign past the $200 million mark. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, university donors committed $39.9 million to the campaign, beating the previous year’s record by nearly $3 million.

“Kent State supporters have truly demonstrated their generosity since we publicly announced the Centennial Campaign last year,” says Gene Finn, vice president for institutional advancement. “Despite numerous studies showing philanthropy dropping across the nation for the past two years, our alumni and friends have done the opposite and increased their giving, responding to our urgent calls to fund the student-focused excellence agenda.”

The number of donors jumped 15.9 percent to 24,642, reaching levels not seen since before the start of the recession. All told, to date more than 75,000 people, businesses and foundations have become part of the growing campus culture of philanthropy by making a commitment to the campaign.

Among the past year’s successes was an additional $6.1 million given to support student scholarships. Since the start of the campaign, $29.7 million has been raised to fund scholarships, the president’s No. 1 priority.

“As I traveled the country this year to meet with alumni, I’ve been greeted with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to our vision for the next 100 years of this institution,” President Lester Lefton says. “That so many have stepped forward with private support for the Centennial Campaign speaks to their embracing of that vision, and the deep and longstanding ties created by the shared Kent State experience.”

Beginning this fall, the campaign will expand its priorities to assist with a major capital transformation of the university’s eight campuses. Kent State trustees last year approved a plan to issue more than $250 million in bonds to finance numerous construction projects, including several new buildings and renovations to academic facilities, including classrooms, laboratories and libraries. Private philanthropic gifts will be key to expanding the scope of those projects.

“Every private dollar contributed by a supporter frees up funds that can go toward an extensive backlog of much-needed capital projects,” Finn says. “Our goal is to stretch those bonds into a much larger impact for the students of Kent State. Every one of these projects will make our young scholars’ education stronger, and each gift gets us closer to that goal.”


This story originally appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of the Kent State Magazine.