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COLUMBUS, Ga. — With more than $33.5 million raised through private funding, Columbus State University finished one of the most successful fiscal years of fundraising in the institution’s history.
The money raised during Fiscal Year 2015 (August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015) brings CSU closer to its $100 million First Choice Comprehensive Campaign goal, which was announced in March.
To date, about $66 million has been raised for the campaign, a comprehensive effort designed to raise money to create an academic and collegiate environment that will cement CSU’s status as a favored destination for top students and faculty.
Giving to the annual CSU Fund set a new record last year, bringing in $5.9 million of the total. Last year, the CSU Fund raised a then-record amount of $4.9 million. The CSU Fund provides critical support for scholarships and programming needs within each of the colleges and funding for other institutional priorities that span the entire campus, such as CSU’s Servant Leadership Program, Athletics, the Center for International Education, the Academic Center for Excellence and Student Life and Development, among others. The CSU Fund also provides university leadership with unrestricted funding to address new challenges and opportunities throughout the year.
“I continue to be amazed at the level of support that’s shown for Columbus State University,” said President Chris Markwood, who started in June. “When my wife and I were applying here, we were impressed by the partnerships that had been created, and the story that was being told about how the university is a catalyst for community development. To see that reflected in a $33 million fund-raising year is just fantastic.”
Some highlights for FY 2015:
— $19.25 million toward a goal of $25 million was secured for the new College of Education and Health Professions building in downtown Columbus on CSU’s RiverPark campus at the site of the former Ledger Enquirer building.
— $5 million was secured from TSYS, $4.5 million of which will support startup cost, a professorship and scholarships for a new cybersecurity center in CSU’s Turner College of Business. The remaining $500,000 will be used for other CSU programs.
— Significant upgrades are in store for Cougar Athletics with the recent completion of the Key Golf Studio on University Avenue ($3.5 million) and the new Burger King Stadium at Ragsdale Field, now under construction on main campus ($1.15 million)
“It is very reassuring to see this kind of response from donors when we outline our needs and talk about the impact that Columbus State University already has on this state,” said Phil Tomlinson, retired CEO of TSYS and volunteer chair for CSU’s First Choice Comprehensive Campaign. “People are hearing our story and investing in our future in record numbers.”
Tomlinson also noted how validating it was to see that faculty and staff giving was up again. In 2011, about 57 percent of CSU employees gave private gifts to the university. That figure was up to 69 percent this year.
Another positive fundraising year is expected in FY 2016. Several important requests are being considered that will move the university closer to the ultimate campaign goal, said Markwood.
“The good news is that we are not starting over,” said Alan Medders, vice president for University Advancement at CSU. “So many relationships have been cultivated over the years, and more projects are already in the works. The tremendous support and successful year of giving is what allowed us to launch the public phase of the First Choice Comprehensive Campaign much sooner than we had anticipated.”