Montana State University

MSU exceeds goal of raising $300 million two years before comprehensive campaign conclusion

October 18, 2016 -- By Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

MSU student Kayla Keepseagle works with her adviser Joe Seymour, a professor in the MSU Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Keepseagle is one of thousands of students who has received scholarship funding through the MSU Alumni Foundation. Funds raised through one part of the MSU Alumni Foundation's comprehensive campaign are for scholarships and fellowships to increase access to a wider and more diverse range of students. Those funds will also provide resources to help students academically once they arrive on campus with tutoring, mentoring, internships and other programs. MSU photo by Adrian Sanchez Gonzalez.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN — Montana State University officials announced today that two years before the conclusion of its comprehensive fundraising campaign, the university has exceeded its goal of raising $300 million. University officials hope to continue the momentum to fund critical remaining priorities.

“Today, we are delighted to announce that Montana State University has raised more than $308 million for ‘What It Takes: The Campaign for Montana State University,’” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “This incredible accomplishment is possible thanks to the generosity and commitment of MSU’s extraordinary alumni, faculty, staff, students and benefactors. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped achieve this important milestone in the history of our university.”

A total of 22,993 donors have contributed to the campaign, with those donors providing 78,792 gifts, according to Chris Murray, president and CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation, the fundraising arm of the university.

Equally as remarkable as the amount raised is the timeline with which the goal was achieved, Murray said.

“MSU began the campaign July 1, 2010 and publicly announced the goal just 12 months ago,” Murray said. “To have exceeded the goal more than two years before the campaign concludes is amazing and a testament not only to the strength of this university but also to its passionate supporters.”

The campaign was publicly launched on Sept. 25, 2015.

Murray noted that the campaign has also resulted in increased engagement with alumni. Since 2013, 12 new alumni chapters have been established across the country, the Alumni Association has welcomed more than 3,000 new members, and the number of alumni participating in reunions and other events has grown steadily, from 11,693 in fiscal year 2016 to 12,880 already in fiscal year 2017.

“As we had hoped, ‘The Campaign for Montana State: What It Takes’ has engendered immeasurable enthusiasm and galvanized support among the university’s alumni and friends,” Murray said. “The $300 million is truly transforming people, places and programs across our MSU campus and ensuring a student experience that is genuinely world-class.”

Within its “What It Takes” theme, the campaign focused on three areas: people, places and programs. To date, approximately $96 million of the campaign has been earmarked for people, $101 million has been earmarked for places, and $110 million has been earmarked for programs.

Funds raised through the “people” part of the campaign are for scholarships and fellowships to increase access to a wider and more diverse range of students, Murray said. Those funds will also provide resources to help students academically once they arrive on campus with tutoring, mentoring, internships and other programs. He noted that of the $96 million raised under the people category, $63.3 million has been raised for public scholarships.

Additionally, campaign funds will provide support to help MSU recruit and retain the best faculty for its students and for its research and outreach mission.

“The generosity of our donors is clearly making a difference for the students and faculty at Montana State,” Cruzado said. “Every day I witness how private philanthropy makes college affordable to those students who are the first in their families to attend college; to those whose finances have made college out of reach; and to those from communities where college may simply be thought of as an impossible dream. Simultaneously, MSU’s expanded scientific, artistic, entrepreneurial and outreach endeavors enable research discoveries, drive innovation and help to create smarter, healthier communities.”

The “places” part of the campaign focuses on funds for classroom, laboratory and student support spaces needed to address the university’s record enrollment, as well as funds to support new teaching methods and technologies. Projects that have been included in the campaign are the Bobcat Stadium end zone expansion, track renovations to the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, Jabs Hall, and Norm Asbjornson Hall and the South Campus project.

The “programs” part of the campaign focuses on funds to help students have more service-learning experiences, and more community engagement and international education opportunities with the aim of building leadership skills in the students while benefiting state, national and international communities.

The campaign officially concludes on Dec. 31, 2018.

“While we have met the most significant goal of raising $300 million, we still have time on the clock and there is still much to do until the end of 2018,” Murray said. “To have reached our goal in advance of our scheduled end date is a testimony to our donors’ incredible generosity and trust that their investment in Montana State will yield constructive and tangible results. We have had enormous success in meeting the fundraising goals for many strategic initiatives on campus, but we have much more to do.”

Further, Murray noted that while most of the projects that were identified as central to the campaign have been fully funded, there are still areas of need.

“This campaign will fund many projects central to the future of an even better and stronger MSU, but we still need to fund additional scholarships and professorships, as well as one capital project that is still yet to be fulfilled: The American Indian Student Center,” Murray said. “We remain fully committed to these campaign priorities.”

Individuals interested in contributing or learning more about “What It Takes” are invited to visit or call the MSU Alumni Foundation at (406) 994-2053.

“We encourage faculty, students, staff and alumni to join us in accomplishing the remaining goals in a final stretch until the year when our university celebrates the 125th anniversary of MSU serving the state of Montana ‘in the people’s interest,’” Murray said.

Contact: Chris Murray, president and CEO, MSU Alumni Foundation, (406) 994-2513 or