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Florida State completes first billion-dollar fundraising campaign in university history

Florida State University announced Friday that it has successfully completed the most ambitious fundraising campaign in university history.

Florida State launched Raise the Torch: The Campaign for Florida State in July 2010 with a goal of raising $1 billion. FSU reached and exceeded that lofty goal with $1,158,665,865 in gifts and pledges received from donors and supporters upon the campaign’s official closing June 30, 2018.

The announcement comes on the heels of FSU’s seven-place climb in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings released earlier this month. The philanthropic support will help Florida State continue to distinguish itself as a preeminent university and bolster its national profile.

“We are overwhelmed and grateful for such generosity because of the impact it will have on future generations of students and society as a whole,” said FSU President John Thrasher.

The funds raised and committed will create or enhance more than 1,300 student scholarships and benefit the educational pursuits of exceptional scholars from every corner of the state, nation and world.

In addition, nearly 100 professorships were generated or supported as FSU continues to recruit and retain outstanding faculty. That good news follows the largest faculty hiring initiative in university history, as FSU welcomed 240 new faculty members at the start of the fall semester.

Raise the Torch’s most significant accomplishment is the creation of the nation’s largest interdisciplinary, degree-granting school of entrepreneurship, which would not have been possible without private support, particularly from Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation, who generously committed a $100 million gift.

This transformative gift provided funds to start and sustain the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship and offered additional support to the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, a program long supported by Mrs. Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation.  This gift has allowed FSU to greatly expand the entrepreneurship courses offered to its students and become a go-to resource for government leaders, trade associations, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small businesses on a national level.

“We are forever grateful to Jan Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation for the $100 million gift commitment that established this new school,” Thrasher said. “To put that in perspective, this $100 million gift is the largest single gift to a public university in the history of the state of Florida.”

FSU also secured its largest gift ever for its Panama City campus during the campaign — a $3 million pledge from Bob and Judy Fleming to create an endowed scholarship fund for first-generation students from the Panama City area.  The Ringling Museum of Art was the recipient of several large gift commitments from donors in the Sarasota area, including gifts to help build a new Asian Art Center, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion and the Tibbals Center, as well as endowments to help expand collections and hire curators, and gifts of art objects.

The three top recipients of gifts through Raise the Torch were Athletics, the College of Business and the Ringling Museum of Art.

Historically, Raise the Torch is FSU’s third university-wide fundraising campaign. The Investment in Learning campaign in the 1990s raised $301 million, and the FSU Connect Campaign in the early 2000s raised $630 million.  Previous campaign totals included the benefits of state matching gift funds, which provided 14 percent of the dollars received as well as incentives to donors to increase their gifts.

Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)
Florida State University's Raise the Torch campaign celebration Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Tracy Hamilton/FSU Foundation)