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University Advancement raises the bar

Dianne Ashby

Illinois State University campaign, Redefining “normal,” raised more than $96 million for Illinois State University, and the two years after the campaign have added more than $29 million.

The Illinois State University Foundation, which receives, holds and administers gifts to the University, invested more than $3 million in Illinois State in fiscal year 2005 and more than $7 million in fiscal year 2006.  For the current fiscal year, the Foundation has invested $1.8 million in student scholarships, $3.3 million in colleges and departments, $800,000 for a new College of Applied Science and Technology laboratory, $400,000 for the College of Business building, $260,000 for Redbird Arena improvements and $135,000 for Milner Library renovations.

University Advancement Vice President Dianne Ashby said the Telefund, which is staffed by Illinois State students, raised more than $1 million dollars from 12,650 donors this past academic year despite their area of the building being closed for four weeks due to remodeling.

The Student Foundation has raised more than half of the money required to endow the Olamide Adeyooye Scholarship.  They will sponsor campus activities this fall to raise the remaining $8,000 in time to hopefully award the first Olamide Adeyooye scholarship in fall of 2007.

Ashby and her staff expect to continue the positive fundraising efforts by implementing some new initiatives and continuing to build on current ones.  New initiatives include a new data system; aligning efforts to increase donor participation; and engaging boards, councils and other partners with cultivation and giving. Ashby would like to see the number of alumni who donate to Illinois State increase to 15 percent.  Currently about 8 percent participate.

Ongoing efforts include telling the University story to a wider range of alumni through publications, the newly revised University Advancement Web site and personal interactions. The Web site explains the advantages of giving and how Illinois State meets its goals of excellence as a result of gifts.  Donors’ gifts are highlighted on the site as well as online contribution capabilities and information on the types of donations that can be made.

Homecoming 2006 will have a new look this year.  A Homecoming InfoCentre will be located in the center concourse of Bone Student Center.  Free tickets will be provided to alumni and guests for the Alumni Association tailgate tent, and the class reunion participants from 1981 and 1966 will watch the Homecoming football game from a tent in the north end zone.

This February marks the start of the Sesquicentennial Celebration at Illinois State University.  There will be internationally known speakers as well as a Gala Event, among many activities celebrating the University’s 150th anniversary.  For more information on the celebration, visit the 150th Web site.