PULLMAN, Wash. – A record 137,157 donors contributed $275,392,819 in private gifts, grants and pledges to Washington State University during Campaign WSU, the university’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign.
The gifts are transforming WSU’s ability to serve students and the state of Washington by supporting scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, learning technology and statewide education. The campaign concluded June 30.
“This has been one of the most important undertakings of the university in recent history,” said President Samuel Smith. “Contributors to WSU have helped us directly address key challenges facing higher education.”
The campaign sought funding in four priority areas. The reported totals for each are: great teaching, $69.1 million; access and diversity, $61.9 million; WSU’s special experience for students, $67.8 million; targeted research, $76.6 million.
Major impacts include:

Increasing WSU’s ability to attract top students and provide access. WSU’s scholarship endowment more than tripled during the campaign, from $14.8 million on July 1, 1990 to $46 million. A record $7 million in scholarships was awarded in fiscal year 1996-1997 to 3,200 students. The largest gift for scholarships was $5 million from 1940 alumnus Phil Lighty and his wife, June, of Burlingame, Calif.

Enabling WSU to expand access and enhance teaching through gifts of interactive technology and in support of branch campuses and extended learning. Numerous gifts enabled WSU to offer additional programs and opportunities. A $300,000 gift from U.S. West, for example, allowed WSU’s nationally modeled Extended Degree Program to begin a year ahead of schedule in 1992.

Supporting and retaining top faculty teachers and researchers. Private gifts increased the number of distinguished professorships and endowed chairs from 6 in 1990 to 77 as of June 30, 1997. An $8.6 million gift from the Boeing Company and a $7 million gift from the late Edward R. Meyer support the teaching and research of dozens of WSU faculty. In separate gifts, the Honors Program received more than $2.5 million.

“Private funds are crucial to continuing any kind of development of excellence at the University, whether it be teaching or research,” said Joan Burbick, Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor in English. “We have so many talented faculty here, and private support is the only thing that is allowing them to function the way they want to … to seek excellence and results.”
“The success of this campaign is reflective of WSU’s increased stature in Washington and nationally,” said Luke Helms, Campaign WSU chairman, and former vice chair of Bank of America. “WSU students, faculty, and staff have accomplished some remarkable things on behalf of this state. Private support has and will continue to make it possible for WSU to strive for excellence.”
Connie Kravas, vice president for university advancement and president of the WSU Foundation, said one of the great successes of the campaign was widespread participation. More than 137,000 donors participated, including 54.8 percent of WSU’s alumni. The number of President’s Associates – those who contribute $1,000 or more annually – rose from 1,800 at the beginning of Campaign WSU to 3,200 during the 1996-1997 fiscal year.
“We believe that our participation rate is the highest or one of the highest in the nation,” said Kravas. “This ethic of giving among Cougars speaks volumes to how much friends and alumni believe in WSU’s land-grant mission and how strong WSU’s base of support is for the future.”
In fiscal year 1996-1997, which ended June 30, donors contributed $46,846,364.

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