By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State University is celebrating the largest private giving year in its history.
MSU raised $86.4 million during the 2012 fiscal year that ended on June 30. That amount is an increase of more than $6 million from the university’s previous record of $80.3 million set the year before.
“My initial reaction is tremendous gratitude from the support of our loyal alumni and friends who appreciate the direction Mississippi State is headed and our mission for moving this university forward and moving our Mississippi forward,” said MSU President Mark Keenum.
The money will be used to support student scholarships, faculty funding and critical needs for academic and athletic facilities, Keenum said.
More than $34 million of the total came from the StatePride initiative that Keenum launched during his investiture in the fall of 2009. The fund was initiated to create more student scholarships and to better support faculty with a four-year goal to net $100 million. Through 3.5 years, it has raised $98.6 million.
“That was a rallying point for our alumni base and friends of our university to step up and start supporting this university in a way that was unprecedented, and we built on that success as we moved forward,” Keenum said.
Eighteen percent of alumni donated money during the past year.
“I think it is huge for a Mississippi institution to be able to do this,” said John Rush, the university’s vice president for development and alumni. “It is a real testament to our alumni and how they value their degrees.
“A lot of our alumni came from working-class families, and Mississippi State put them on their career path, and they are loyal and appreciative of that.”
In the 50 years since being chartered in 1962, the Mississippi State University Foundation has raised more than $1 billion.
“We have worked consciously over the years to communicate to our donors that to become a top-flight institution, we are going to need private support,” Rush said. “Private support makes a difference to take us from where we are to where we need to be.”