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Penn State Alumni Give Back at Record Levels

by on July 09, 2013 12:51 PM

By almost any measure, Penn State's latest fundraising campaign is a huge success -- pulling in some gargantuan numbers. "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students" is quickly approaching its $2 billion goal. The university says it topped $1.85 billion last month.

This year alone the school has raised $237.8 million. That's the second-highest amount in Penn State history and there's one more year left before this campaign ends.

According to Penn State, gifts from alumni and others reached record-breaking levels this past year. Alumni alone gave at one of the highest levels in Penn State's history, officials say, with gifts totaling $87.6 million. It's a 23 percent increase from 2011-12. 

More than 72,000 alumni gave to the university, a decrease of 4.8 percent from the year before, but still among the highest of any university in the country, according to Penn State. Gift receipts from all sources increased by about 14 percent overall.

"The campaign's focus on Penn State students has resonated in powerful ways with our alumni and friends, and enthusiasm for supporting the university is strong and growing as we head into the final 12 months of For the Future," says Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. "The success of the campaign will have a profound impact on the University for generations to come, and donors are stepping forward to show their support and express their own vision for our future."

In 2012-13, Penn State fulfilled several fundraising achievements outside of the campaign, including:

  • The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program reached its goal of $100 million in scholarship endowments for students who need financial help. To celebrate that success and underscore the For the Future campaign's focus on scholarship support, the program has been extended and enhanced. New Trustee Scholarships created through June 30, 2014, will earn an annual 10 percent match in perpetuity, up from the program's original 5 percent match.
  • The Faculty Endowment Challenge was so popular that it was renewed in 2012-13. The challenge offers to match one dollar for every two dollars donated, for gifts creating Early Career Professorships. The first pool of University matching funds has helped donors to create 23 endowments for faculty in the first decade of their careers. An additional pool of support has now been made available, offering donors the opportunity to create a total of 40 Early Career Professorships through the program.
  • In November, the University dedicated the new Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, a state-of-the-art, patient-and-family-centered facility that would not exist without more than $65 million in private support.
  • THON raised $12.4 million for pediatric cancer research and patient care at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and it surpassed $100 million in total support raised since 1977, when it first partnered with the Four Diamonds Fund.
  • Last year, the For the Future faculty/staff campaign surpassed its original $43 million goal and aimed toward a new $55 million target. That goal was reached as the 2012-2013 fiscal year came to an end, with $55.2 million in support from Penn State's employees.

Campaign chair Peter G. Tombros says the university will continue to pursue its goal.

"The achievements of our students and faculty depend upon the support of our alumni and friends," says Tombros. "Through For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, we're asking our supporters to become our partners in achieving its vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America."

Tombros will present a full presentation of the university's fundraising achievements at the board of trustees meeting on July 12 at the Penn State Fayette campus.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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