Campaign tops $255 million

23,014 donors support largest higher-education fundraiser in state history

South Dakota State University completed the largest and most-successful higher-education fundraising effort in state history with on-campus celebrations in April.

Campaign total announcement at the Campus Rally outside of the University Student Union.

Campaign total announcement at the Campus Rally outside of the University Student Union.

The result of It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University, a six-year comprehensive campaign, was marked with an April 26 campuswide rally to announce $255,736,045 in gifts and pledges. The total was unveiled the night before at the SDSU Foundation’s annual Donor Celebration in Frost Arena, which drew a record crowd of 1,003 people.

Campaign leadership noted the strong response in the final year—and even final weeks—of the campaign. In the 12 months of the campaign, donors provided $71 million in financial commitments.

From January 1 to April 24, 2013 alone, donors provided $31 million in gifts and pledges. That was equivalent to $271,000 a day.

President David Chicoine thanked the leadership of the SDSU Foundation for accepting the challenge of spearheading the campaign. “Generous donors provide the margin of excellence for our university,” Chicoine said. “This ambitious campaign began as a challenge to transform the university and to build a better South Dakota State by securing an unprecedented level of private funding. The result will allow aspirations to become reality and enable this university to make a difference for people in South Dakota and the region.”

It Starts with STATE began January 1, 2007, to support the university’s strategic plan.

The Council of Trustees of the SDSU Foundation voted unanimously on April 25, 2008, to support a campaign with a working goal of $190 million. The goal was officially increased to $200 million in October 2010.

Dana Dykhouse, president and CEO of First PREMIER Bank; Daktronics founder Al Kurtenbach and Jerry Lohr, president of J. Lohr Winery, served as the campaign’s co-chairs.

“It is a testament to the generosity and loyalty of our alumni and friends that we were able to exceed our original goal by more than $55 million, especially when you consider the economic downturn that gripped our state and nation in 2008 and 2009,” said Dykhouse, a 1979 SDSU graduate.

Campaign total announcement at the Donor Celebration in Frost Arena.

Campaign total announcement at the Donor Celebration in Frost Arena.

Of the total raised, 26 percent went toward new and revitalized facilities. Fifteen capital projects that relied entirely or partly on private funding have been completed, including the Avera Health and Science Center, Daktronics Engineering Hall and the McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center.

Two more building projects—the Indoor Practice and Human Performance Center, and the Architecture, Math and Engineering building—will begin this summer.

Another 21 percent of the total campaign commitments supported athletics, including leadership gifts for construction of the indoor practice facility.

The campaign total came from 23,014 different donors. Nearly one-fourth of them (6,917) were making their first gift ever to SDSU. The individual donors spanned in age by more than 80 years. The oldest donor was a 1928 graduate; 50 donors from the Class of 2012 contributed.

Thirty-nine percent of the total raised came from alumni; 37 percent from non-alumni, and 24 percent from businesses and corporations.

Sixty-two percent of the campaign came from South Dakota donors. SDSU received a gift from donors in all 50 states.

SDSU’s only previous comprehensive campaign (Visions for the Future, 1994-1998) exceeded its $50 million goal by raising $52 million.

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