200 million reasons to celebrate

SDSU increases campaign goal, breaks higher-education fund-raising mark

The Trustees of the South Dakota State University Foundation aimed high in April 2008 when they voted unanimously to embark on a comprehensive campaign with a working goal of $175 million to $190 million—an amount nearly four times greater than the previous effort.

By October 21, 2010, more than $137 million in gifts and commitments had already been made, leading the Council of Trustees to realize even more could be achieved.

“­­­In true South Dakota State University fashion, we are setting our sights even higher,” SDSU alumnus Dana Dykhouse ’79 told a crowd ­of alumni, students, and supporters at an October 21 announcement in The Union. “Frankly, it’s in our Jackrabbit DNA to strive to be the best, to confront challenges head on, to be the trailblazer.”

The event marked the beginning of the public phase of It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University. By the end of 2010, nearly $150 million in gifts and pledges had been secured. That total, achieved in less than four years, tops the previous record for an in-state university campaign—$133.9 million over a nine-year period. The campaign to reach $200 million will occur over six years, concluding in 2012.

The record fund-raising has come from nearly 18,600 unique donors, with gifts ranging from Avera Health’s $15 million investment to first-time donations by 2009 graduates.

“The response by alumni and friends of South Dakota State University has been unprecedented,” Dykhouse says. “They have responded to the University’s vision of providing greater opportunities to students through scholarships and to stimulate economic growth through expanded research and new academic initiatives.”

At the October 21 announcement, University leadership reminded the crowd that the working goal was set only months before the nation was confronted with one of most challenging economic conditions in decades.
“It is a testament to SDSU supporters that the campaign goal has been increased without having to extend the original six-year timeline,” says Dykhouse, one of three campaign cochairs. “For all of our successes, we recognize that our work is far from over, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Dykhouse, president and CEO of First PREMIER Bank of Sioux Falls, is joined as a campaign cochair by Jerry Lohr ’58, president and founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines of California; and Al Kurtenbach, cofounder and board chairman of Daktronics of Brookings.

The comprehensive campaign is a response to a campuswide strategic planning process that SDSU President David L. Chicoine initiated when he arrived on campus in 2007. Faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, and community leaders worked together to identify the University’s needs and to create a visionfor its future. The process led to opportunities in five distinct areas:
• Strengthening the Faculty: Endowed Faculty Positions
• Opportunities for Students: Scholarships and Fellowships
• Stately Surroundings: New and Revitalized Facilities
• Athletics: Creating Lifelong Champions
• Funds for Excellence

For details about giving opportunities, visit: www.ItStartswithState.org/giving-opportunities-campaign.

This is the second comprehensive campaign in SDSU’s history. The Visions for the Future campaign (1994-98) exceeded its goal of $50 million, raising $52 million. Lohr was chairman of that campaign.

Visit www.ItStartswithState.org to learn more about It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University.

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