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Sept. 8, 2017

MSU's Empower Extraordinary campaign hits $1.5 billion goal early, continues fundraising momentum

More than 230,000 alumni and friends have brought Michigan State University to a significant milestone: surging past the fundraising goal of $1.5 billion more than a year before the “Empower Extraordinary” campaign is set to conclude.

“We are grateful for the support of alumni, partners and friends who are stepping up at a critical time to maintain MSU’s commitment to being accessible to all deserving students and to building an even more vibrant community that fosters innovation and discovery to shape a better and stronger tomorrow,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “Gifts to the campaign are already transforming students’ lives, amplifying research and attracting the best and brightest to MSU and the momentum generated by enthusiasm for the campaign is propelling us even further.”

The campaign, which publicly launched in fall 2014 and is the most ambitious in MSU’s history, exceeded fundraising goals in areas such as student scholarships and support for student and community programs that helped reach over the $1.5 billion mark. The campaign will continue through Dec. 31, 2018, with a focus on funding several key initiatives including:

  • Create a world-class business facility. The next chapter for the Broad College of Business requires new spaces that allow for instruction to happen in a more collaborative way. More than $32 million has been raised for the $60 million project.
  • Strengthen health science research. MSU aims to achieve this with the new Grand Rapids Research Center opening Sept. 20. The project has achieved more than half of its fundraising goal under the leadership of the College of Human Medicine.
  • Expand and enhance music facilities. The College of Music hopes to provide much needed state-of-the-art rehearsal, learning, recording and performance spaces. The project has received nearly 50 percent of its fundraising goal.
  • Increase number of endowed faculty positions. An Empower Extraordinary campaign goal is to create 100 new endowed faculty positions to support the best teachers, researchers and problem-solvers. To date, 71 new endowed positions have been established.

Donations already in action

Each year, a portion of the gifts received are future estate commitments and pledges paid over multiple years; however, $1.01 billion in campaign gifts have been received and are already at work at MSU. Notably, more than 1,200 funds for scholarships have been created.

Donors from across the United States and beyond have contributed to the campaign’s success, but a local partner, the MSU Federal Credit Union, brought the total past the $1.5 billion mark. At the Sept. 8 MSU Board of Trustees' meeting, MSUFCU presented the university with a $5.5 million gift. The gift will create new opportunities for community members to engage in the arts, business and science across 10 areas of MSU.

“Both MSU and the MSUFCU are committed to helping people achieve their dreams,” said April Clobes, president and chief executive officer for MSUFCU. “We are proud to support MSU’s efforts that help ensure our communities are alive with arts and education and are places where people can learn and thrive.”

The credit union is among the top 20 campaign donors, having previously made a $3 million gift to the campaign in addition to annual support which averages $700,000 each year.

Symbolic of the campaign’s progress, on the afternoon of Sept. 8 the university will officially break ground on the Business Pavilion, destined to be a new focal point for the Broad College. The project, launched with a gift from philanthropist and MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, will be funded entirely through philanthropy.

“We are grateful for the support of alumni, corporate partners and friends who are supporting our college’s next chapter, during which we are raising the bar in our mission to be a top-of-mind business school,” said Sanjay Gupta, the Eli and Edythe L. Broad dean of the business college. “As we develop transformational business leaders, we ourselves must transform as a college. It is our responsibility to provide our students and faculty with facilities to match the culture and community of the Broad College of Business – where they will make business happen for generations to come.”

To date, alumni of MSU have contributed 36 percent of the gifts. Other individuals have contributed 23 percent of the gifts, for a total of 59 percent of the campaign gifts coming from individual donors.

“Alumni and friends from around our state, across the country and around the world increasingly are seeing the value of MSU,” said Bob Groves, vice president for University Advancement. “The clock is running out on this campaign and it is gratifying that so many are making sure they are part of moving MSU forward.”

To learn more about MSU’s engagement and philanthropy efforts, visit