FSU CONNECT Campaign surpasses half-billion dollar mark

The Florida State University Foundation has announced that the FSU CONNECT comprehensive fund-raising campaign has surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark and is well on its way to meeting its goal of $600 million by Dec. 31, 2005.

As of June 1, 2005, the FSU CONNECT Campaign had raised $537 million to support students, faculty and academic programs at Florida State University.

"We are delighted by the support of our many alumni and friends who have contributed to the strength and vitality of this campaign," said William Smith, Jr., chairman of the FSU CONNECT Campaign and president of Capital City Bank Group. "Every dollar of private support is an affirmation that FSU is truly at the forefront of public higher education in this country."

Several gifts have been in the "tens of millions of dollars, and the Foundation Board of Trustees has given more than $130 million," according to Smith, but he pointed out that the size of the gift does not matter. "While larger gifts have become creasingly important to campaigns, participation by our alumni and friends is the key to our success," Smith said.

"Even through 9/11, a downturn in the economy, the war on terrorism and four hurricanes, FSU supporters have been increasingly generous," said J. Jeffrey Robison, president of the FSU Foundation. "We are mindful of every donor’s belief in the good works of this university and we challenge ourselves to ensure that we are proper stewards
of our donors’ gifts."

Robison added that the Foundation’s cost per dollar raised (the amount it costs the Foundation to raise a dollar) is 11 cents. According to a study by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the range for colleges and universities typically can run from 15 cents to 35 cents.

Enhancements provided by private gifts can be seen throughout the FSU campus and community. Contributions to create endowed faculty chairs and professorships allow the university to recruit and retain the most eminent scholars and gifted professors. In the College of Law alone there are 27 endowed professors, 18 of whom have been supported by funds raised in the FSU CONNECT Campaign. Numerous gifts support undergraduate and graduate students.

As the FSU CONNECT Campaign closes in on its $600 million goal, FSU President T.K. Wetherell remarked that "the success of the Campaign rests on the loyalty, commitment and hard work of volunteers, including the university deans, Foundation staff and most importantly thousands of generous donors. Thanks to their support, FSU can remain competitive and continue to attract the best and brightest students to the university each year."

The FSU CONNECT Campaign, the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign to date at FSU, began July 1, 2000. Notable gifts from the last year include:

  • $3.6 million bequest from Stephen Cheeseman to support scholarships in the College of Law
  • $6.5 million bequest from Ulla Searing to support the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
  • $5 million gift from the estate of Adelaide Wilson for graduate fellowships
  • $1 million from Dr. Charlotte Maguire to support the FSU College of Medicine
  • $1.9 million bequest from realtor Joan Raley to support a scholarship and a professorship in the College of Business and a professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences