Illinois State University today publicly announced its most ambitious comprehensive fundraising campaign, Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State. The campaign will support and bolster Illinois State’s mission of educating high-achieving, motivated students who seek an individualized and transformative experience.

Illinois State’s goal is to raise $150 million in private funds, supporting three primary pillars:

  • Scholarship (Student and Faculty Support): Elevating the level of scholarship and academic excellence in every field of endeavor through expanded student support and endowing faculty leaders to help create and maintain world-class academic programs.
  • Leadership (Program and Experiential Learning): Educating tomorrow’s leaders, graduating globally aware and socially engaged citizens by facilitating greater participation in leadership programming, international education, off-campus internships, campus diversity initiatives, career development, and service-learning projects.
  • Innovation (Creative Workspaces and Technology): Sparking continuous creativity and innovation through enhanced curriculum and by encouraging a more entrepreneurial campus, including new teaching-learning spaces to foster teamwork and interdisciplinary problem solving.

More than 40,000 donors have already contributed more than $103 million in outright gifts and commitments since fiscal year 2014, the beginning of the campaign’s quiet phase.

Redbirds Rising comes at a time when the University is celebrating many successes, including: strong student enrollment numbers; being named as a Top 100 Public University in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 rankings; having a top 10 percent graduation rate and top 10 percent freshmen retention rate among all United States universities; and Illinois State alumni going on to successful careers, leading to the very low student loan default rate of graduates (2.8 percent) compared with the national average (11.8 percent).

According to President Larry Dietz: “Illinois State University is a university on the rise. With additional financial support, we can ensure our students and scholars have access to the tools and resources needed to reach new levels of scholarship, leadership, and innovation.”

Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State is the second comprehensive campaign in Illinois State’s history; the first, Redefining Normal, was completed in 2004 and raised $96 million. Private funding is crucial to creating scholarships, recruiting top faculty, and supporting the academic and student support programs that contribute to Illinois State’s outstanding reputation.

During the campaign, over 50 volunteers and six co-chairs, who have been impacted positively by Illinois State, will take active roles in informing and encouraging others to participate in Redbirds Rising. Co-chairs include: Ken ’73 and Deborah (Hypke) Glover ’73 of Houston, Texas; Jim’ 74 and Carole (Czerniak) Mounier ’75 of Naples, Fla; and Dan ’70 and Pam Kelley of Normal, Ill. Campaign co-chair Dan Kelley notes: “Redbirds Rising presents an exciting opportunity for those of us who love Illinois State to invest in its future.”

To learn more about Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State and how you can support the University’s students, faculty, facilities, and programs, visit the campaign website.