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Feature: MSU Announces $1.5 Billion Campaign

  • Author:
    Paula M. Davenport
  • Published:
    Winter 2015

The World Needs Michigan State, And Michigan State Needs You.   

            With acknowledgement of past excellence and a firm commitment to future initiatives, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees on Oct. 24 approved a $1.5 billion capital campaign intended to build on MSU’s traditions while empowering critical initiatives for the 21st century.

            Empower Extraordinary: The Campaign for Michigan State University aims to raise $1.5 billion to benefit students, faculty, staff, facilities and researchers and communities. To date, the campaign is 55 percent to goal.

            MSU launched the public phase of the campaign in the days immediately following its approval by the board. Special tours of facilities, class presentations, a 90-minute staged tribute with live musical performers and a dinner on campus connected guests with student scholarship recipients, faculty who hold endowed chairs, Spartan athletics personalities and others.

            “This campaign is an historic opportunity to assure that innovation and opportunity will continue to thrive at MSU, not just for us today, but for future generations,” says MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.

            Fueling the opening of the campaign’s public phase was a $25 million gift—dedicated to MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business—from alumnus Eli Broad and his wife Edythe.

            In concert, MSU alumnus Tom Skandalaris and his wife Julie made a $10 million gift to enhance Spartan football, golf and basketball programs. It is largest ever single gift to MSU athletics.

            “Michigan State’s fundraising success is due to support from alumni and friends of the university, as well as to an aggressive fundraising strategy that includes many initiatives by the university’s academic and administrative leaders,” says President Simon.

            “The capital campaign has been totally embraced by volunteers and alumni who are enthusiastic to be a part of MSU history.”

Learn about giving opportunities, and see videos and stories on the campaign’s website:

Members of the President’s Campaign Cabinet

  • The Honorable Dolores M. Cook, co-chair (’54 Communication Arts and Sciences) and Byron J. Cook (’54 Natural Science)
  • Bob Skandalaris, co-chair (’74 Business) and Julie Skandalaris
  • Eli Broad (’54 Business) and Edythe Broad (’07 honorary alumna), honorary co-chairs
  • The Honorable Peter F. Secchia (’63 Business) and Joan P. Secchia (’64 Education), honorary co-chairs
  • Craig Brown (’73 Broad College of Business) and Vicki Brown (’75 Education)
  • Peter Faricy (’88 Business) and Sharon Faricy (’88 Arts and Letters, Business)
  • Louise Foster and Vincent D. Foster (’78 Business)
  • Ingrid Saunders Jones (’69 Education)
  • Karen A. Kolschowsky (’63 Education) and Gerald A. Kolschowsky
  • Blake W. Krueger (’75 Business, Honors College) and Mary Z. Krueger (’77 Natural Science, ’79 Engineering)
  • Barbara Maibach (’68 Natural Science) and Ben Maibach III (’69 Engineering)
  • Julie Minskoff and Edward J. Minskoff (’62 Business)
  • Patrick (Pat) McPharlin (’69 Social Science)
  • Linda Orlans (’87 Law)
  • Michael Serling (’66 History, ’70 Law) and Elaine Serling
  • Steve Smith (’13 Social Science) and Millie Smith

EMPOWER EXTRAORDINARY: The Campaign for Michigan State University

            With acknowledgement of past excellence and a firm commitment to future initiatives, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved a $1.5 billion capital campaign on October 24, intended to build on MSU’s traditions while empowering critical initiatives for the 21st century.

            The campaign revolves around the following four priorities.

An Engine of Opportunity: Investing in student success amidst a challenging landscape

            MSU’s strong academic programs attract the best and brightest students and the university has done an excellent job to remain open to all who qualify. The strong qualifications of our undergraduate and graduate students are evident in both the high demand for an MSU education and the academic profile of the students who are accepted.

            Purpose:To raise funds for student scholarships and fellowships and strengthen student programs to provide a global perspective.

            Goal:$400 million

A Force for Creativity, Discovery, and Learning: Our faculty and academic programs lead the way

            To become great, MSU must recruit and retain the best faculty possible. MSU lags behind its peers in the number of endowed professorships and chairs, the gold standard of faculty distinction and recognition. Great faculties help students find their life’s work. To do so, MSU must support strong, innovative academic programs.

            Purpose: To raise funds to establish 100 new endowed positions for faculty and coaches, and for innovative and athletic programs to retain and attract great thinkers and leaders.

            Goal: $350 million

A Global Problem Solver: Attacking the world’s biggest problems

            We seek to address global challenges through targeted investments in research. The challenges we face all relate to solving problems of scarcity—of resources, of ideas, of cooperation. Effective solutions require the best minds working in collaboration across disciplinary and geographic boundaries. Investing in research is good for the economy and supports entrepreneurship.

            Purpose:To raise funds for research to address global problems and provide flexible funding to test new ideas and build multidisciplinary partnerships in ways that save lives, strengthen the economy and change the world.

            Goal: $300 million

A Vibrant Community: Community—more than just a place

            Michigan State is more than just a physical location and more than its East Lansing campus.  It is a set of values—quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity. We cannot order up inspiration or invent on a schedule. But we can be ready for ideas when they come. We can build a world that makes it possible for people to work together, converge disciplines, be creative, use technology, and leverage resources when it’s needed. These funds will strengthen our ability to innovate, pioneer new fields of research, and transform the way we teach, collaborate, and engage. MSU’s top-notch intercollegiate athletics programs have been part of the university for generations and are a dynamic part of the Spartan experience and build a sense of community.

            Purpose: To raise funds to modernize infrastructure, and create spaces that inspire the next generation of thinkers, artists, athletes and leaders while providing the resources needed for emerging opportunities.  

            Goal:$450 million


            State appropriations to Michigan State University--once a significant source of education funding--have dropped noticeably since 2001. Meanwhile, MSU's enrollment has grown 13 percent, or 5,400 students, since then. Nevertheless, MSU has and will continue to carry out perhaps its most important charge: making higher education accessibhle to all who qualitfy regardless of their financial means. The university works hard to keep the cost of a world=class education affordable. But it is no secret that tuition is covering more of the cost of an education.

            After adjusting for inflation, the average cost of higher education at MSU has increased by only &65 over the past 12 years. Additionally, the university infuses its student and aid fund with an annual $140 million allocation from its operating budget.

            Consequently, MSU students graduate with lower debt burdens than if they had attended many other U.S. universities.

            The university aspires to do even more to assist bright studednts, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. To achieve that goal, it must seek additional private and public support. 

            It is not the easiest path to follow, but it is the right path. After all, it is the Spartan way--Spartans helping Spartans.