PULLMAN, Wash. — Twenty-five years ago, the Washington State University Foundation ended its inaugural year with just over $4.3 million in gifts and grants.  Today, the WSU Foundation kicks off its 25th anniversary year by announcing that gifts and private grants for 2003-04 totaled $44,780,138, the fourth largest year in foundation history. Donors made future pledges of an additional $1,453,584.

For the third consecutive year, the President’s Associates – made up of individuals and organizations making annual gifts of $1,000 or more – set a record with 4,789 members, an increase of more than five percent over the previous year.

The WSU Foundation’s endowment finished the year at $204.6 million, an increase of nearly $13 million over the previous year’s total. At the same time, WSU added 28 endowed scholarships, two endowed graduate fellowships and three endowed professorships and chairs.

“The spirit of philanthropy demonstrated by WSU’s friends and alumni over the lifetime of the WSU Foundation is truly remarkable,” said President V. Lane Rawlins.  “These contributions make an education possible for financially-challenged students, they help us attract the best and brightest students and faculty, they reward and enhance world-class research and they recognize the unique place that top-notch public research universities hold in the life of our state, our nation and the world.”

During the past 25 years, the WSU Foundation has raised more than $720 million for the benefit of WSU students, faculty and programs. WSU’s scholarship endowment was less than $10 million when the WSU Foundation was created but now tops $74.5 million, providing assistance to more than 4,000 deserving students each year.  From just a handful of graduate fellowships 25 years ago, WSU now has 127 named endowments benefiting graduate students.  Likewise, endowed professorships and chairs have grown from fewer than five to 119 at the end of fiscal year 2003-2004.

This weekend, the 25th Annual Meeting of the WSU Foundation will bring more than 225 members of the WSU Foundation Board of Governors and Board of Trustees to Pullman for committee and business meetings, held on WSU’s Pullman campus today (Oct. 7) and Friday, Oct. 8.  Friday evening, 400 attendees will gather at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum to recognize the WSU Foundation’s 25th Anniversary and to honor the WSU Foundation’s laureates (donors of $1 million or more) and benefactors (donors of $100,000 or more) for 2004.

“More than 49,000 individuals and organizations supported Washington State University last year through the work of the WSU Foundation,” said foundation president Rick Frisch. “We are enormously grateful for the breadth and depth of support from the alumni, friends, companies and individuals who have helped to make WSU world-class.”

Mark and Patt Suwyn, WSU Foundation co-chairs, said that people and partnerships are at the core of the foundation’s success.  “During the past 25 years, the WSU Foundation’s success has taken many shapes and has come from individuals and organizations of all kinds,” Mark Suwyn said.

“Gifts of every size speak to the core of the Cougar spirit – loyalty, generosity, appreciation for one’s own WSU experience, as well as recognition that one can help make a great institution even better for the next generation,” Patt Suwyn said.