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Colorado State University, bolstered by a record of 42,115 donors, including a record of more than 18,000 alumni, raised $190 million in private support in the 2016-17 fiscal year, the second year in a row in which CSU has raised over $190 million in private support.
With this fundraising total, CSU is now more than 81 percent of the way to completing its $1 billion “State Your Purpose” campaign, slated to end by 2020, the university’s 150th birthday. The $190 million total, the second-highest in CSU history, signals continued strong support from private donors for the university and brings the total raised in the campaign to $813.5 million.
“We are exceptionally grateful to all the alumni and friends who continue to support our University and its mission to serve Colorado and the world,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “Private giving keeps CSU on the leading edge. The generosity and vision of our donors has a transformative impact and pushes us to innovate, provides for new discovery in teaching and research, and allows us to create the best environment for learning possible.”
The generosity of CSU donors continues a trend of groundbreaking fundraising that has transformed the 147-year-old campus, bolstered the university’s nationally renowned teaching and research, and provided more opportunities for students to take advantage of a world-class CSU education.
The university’s record number of 42,115 donors marks the first time CSU has surpassed 40,000. The 2016-17 year also saw the largest gift in CSU’s history: $53.3 million from alumnus Walter Scott, Jr., to create the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. The university also benefited from an eighth straight year of increasing participation from alumni, at the same time as universities nationwide struggled to engage their alumni in philanthropy.
The newest fundraising numbers come as significant campus projects that were dependent on private donations are opening their doors. CSU’s new Health and Medical Center and the on-campus stadium are among those transformational campus improvements that have been supported by private and corporate donations.
“Our students, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends continue to invest in Colorado State University at record levels,” said Brett Anderson (’87), outgoing vice president for University Advancement. “Their support, from small gifts to transformational gifts, allow CSU to not only lead and innovate in so many areas, but continue to remain true to her land-grant mission to create access for outstanding students who will change the world.”
The 2016-17 fundraising numbers come as a remarkable run by Anderson draws to a close. The Rams alumnus completely changed fundraising expectations at CSU, first leading the successful completion of the $500 million “Campaign for Colorado State University” in 2012 and officially launching the $1 billion “State Your Purpose” campaign.
Raising the bar
Anderson’s influence can best be illustrated by looking at fundraising trends as he and his team set new standards for excellence and completely changed the culture of philanthropy at CSU. Under Anderson’s leadership, CSU achieved record fundraising. Prior to his arrival the university’s highest annual mark stood at $58 million. Anderson and his team worked with donors to boost that figure to an average of $91.8 million in annual gifts over his first four years (2010-13). From there, the Division of University Advancement nearly doubled that total over the most recent four-year period (2014-17), averaging $172.9 million annually.
During the same time period, alumni participation in giving doubled, to an all-time high of 10.74 percent, with the total number of annual donors increasing from 24,000 to 42,115 in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Anderson started a new job July 1 as special assistant to President Frank. Kim Tobin succeeds Anderson as vice president for University Advancement.
“I’m exceedingly grateful that Brett Anderson will stay on with Colorado State University in this new role – looking deeply into improving structures and processes that will make our university stronger,” Frank said. “Kim Tobin is absolutely the right person to step into Brett’s shoes, and I know she will take CSU and our Advancement team to new heights.”
Tobin began her tenure at CSU as the director of development for the College of Natural Resources (now the Warner College) before going on to lead development efforts for the College of Liberal Arts, where her expertise led to the creation of the William Runyan Rehearsal Hall, the Bohemian Complex and spaces now occupied by the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art in the University Center for the Arts.