By Kelley Bruce Robinson
The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Susan Latimer loves to help less fortunate students succeed. Whether it’s first year students who cannot afford housing costs or commuters that need money for gas to get to classes, Latimer contributes.
She donates to the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Discretionary Fund and President Larry Penley’s Discretionary fund.
It was private donations like hers that gave Colorado State University its second most successful private fundraising year in the school’s history for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, raising $79.5 million – topping the University of Colorado at Boulder’s $58.5 million.
“I decided to give $500 to the President’s Discretionary Fund and $500 to the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Discretionary Fund because in those programs, Penley and Dean Rick Miranda respond to students needs,” said Latimer, who is also executive director for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives.
$2.8 million of the total raised came from CSU staff members, retirees and their relatives.
Last year, CSU received $52.6 million in private support. This number represents a 51 percent increase over last year’s results — enough money to equal the 1994 renovation of the Morgan Library up to three and one half times.
This increase in funds will remain steady in future years, according to the office of Advancement and Strategic Initiatives, which is responsible for collecting private donations.
“I truly believe that fundraising is, and will remain to be an upward trend,” Joyce Berry, vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives, said in an e-mail interview. “Our Advancement and Strategic Initiatives are dedicated professionals who, along with their Deans and supervisors, are setting increasingly higher goals for their colleges and units.”
The fundraising, entirely accumulated through alumni, corporation and foundation donations, goes toward scholarships and library services. It also contributes to the University Fund, a Penley-endorsed initiative that provides private money for projects not receiving sufficient state funds.
“Private dollars enable us to hire the very best faculty and teachers, who are also world-class scientists addressing today’s greatest global issues,” Berry said. “Ultimately, private support enables students to have a world-class education, ensures that the value of their degree increases throughout their careers and that our graduates succeed in today’s competitive world.”
This year’s donations rose despite suspicion that some alumni would donate because of last year’s F*** BUSH Collegian editorial and the termination of football coach Sonny Lubick, said Latimer.
“There were some people upset about some school issues last year . most people still are,” she said.
Some though, she said, are still more than willing to support CSU.
“For me the purpose of the institution is bigger than those individual issues,” current donor, former Alumni Association president and CSU alum Steven Stemper said. “Even though I was disappointed in the handling of the Sonny Lubick departure, neither one of those incidents affected my donating decision.”
Local media reported earlier this year that CU, reportedly raising $133 million, collected more private donations than CSU’s Fort Collins campus. In actuality, CSU raised more, with $79.5 million, than CU-Boulder’s $58.5 million.
“It’s important to distinguish the fundraising results representing the CU System ($162.5 million) versus the three separate campuses,” Berry said in her e-mail.
Joyce and her department’s fundraising approach may be responsible for the upward trend in donations, which she describes as an “inspiring vision and purpose” in donating.
“We get to know donors’ interests and passions and then match them with the university’s goals,” she said. “Fundraising is a mutually beneficial activity. We want [the donors] to be a part of the CSU family, and always feel valued for their generosity.”
CSU dominates not only in private donations, but also in research funding, with last year’s $296 million in grants surpassing CU-Boulder’s largest-ever research award of $266.2 million.
“Our average rate of increase, based on the last three years of reported data, has well surpassed that of . all the campuses of the CU system,” Penley said during his annual fall address last year.
The research funding is partly being used for the facilities and technological tools that CSU prides itself on offering research students and faculty. These include the Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology, which is shared with CU – Boulder and the University of California at Berkeley and used by 19 other colleges and universities through an outreach partner program.
“Being awarded a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center is one of the highest honors given to an engineering college,” Penley said in a 2003 press release when plans were first devised.
Fiscal year funding figures for 2008 are not yet available.
Excitement over the high figures for both funding and fundraising now runs through both donors and employees alike.
“I am thrilled that both private fundraising and funding are up,” Latimer said. “I think it’s an acknowledgement of how fantastic CSU is doing in every area.”
Staff writer Kelley Bruce Robinson can be reached at email@example.com.