The financial pocketbook of Colorado State University widened radically over the past year, even in financially stressful times.
Private donors contributed more than $85 million to the university last year â€“â€“ an increase of 47 percent from the previous year. The national average was only 5 percent.
â€œWe are seeing a great upward trend,â€ said Brett Anderson, vice president for University Advancement at CSU, which oversees fundraising. â€œWe are getting out there and talking to as many people as possible.â€
Anderson said the donations came in all amounts from all sorts of people, primarily alumni, who want to, â€œtarget a specific program and stay connected with their passion.â€
Ranging from scholarship opportunities to construction projects like the new engineering building, the contributions from nearly 28,000 donors last year added up in a big way.
Perhaps the most well known donation came from Walter Scott in the amount of $10 million. Scott graduated from CSU in 1953 and has since worked in the construction and telecommunications industries, propelling himself onto Forbe’s â€œRichest Men in the Worldâ€ list, valued at nearly $2 billion in 2010.
â€œCSU did an outstanding job giving me an education,â€ Scott said at the groundbreaking of the new engineering building last spring. â€œ(This is) an opportunity to make a significant change in the engineering program at CSU.â€
The donations are a culmination of the Campaign for Colorado State, a movement hoping to gather $500 million in donations by June 2012 â€“â€“ the amount needed for numerous functions on campus. Since the campaign began in 2005, $425 million has been raised.
Anderson said educating people is the hardest part, and many don’t realize the tuition they pay only covers one-third of the total cost.
â€œPrivate support becomes more important all the time,â€ he said.
â€œAt a time when weâ€™re balancing severe state funding cuts with the need to keep education affordable and of high quality, private gifts are even more essential than ever,â€ said CSU President Tony Frank in a press release. â€œEvery gift â€“â€“ whether $5 or $5 million â€“â€“ makes a big difference to CSU.â€
The Campaign for Colorado State will continue its fundraising effort over the next year as the total nears the original goal.
â€œCSU Fort Collins significantly outpaced CU Boulder,â€ Anderson said. â€œWe have great alums, great students and great programs, and we should all be very proud.â€
Staff writer Jason Pohl can be reached at email@example.com.