CSU Foundation gets record amount of support

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Columbus State University students walk by the clock tower in the center of campus Tuesday evening.

JOE PAULL — jpaull@ledger-enquirer.com

Columbus State University President Tim Mescon said Tuesday that with a decline in state appropriations it is "critical" to get financial support from alumni and friends of the school in order to maintain the university's commitment to excellence. CSU is getting that support.

School supporters demonstrated their generosity in 2012-2013 by giving a record amount in private support.

Donor gifts to the CSU Foundation topped $8.1 million during the fiscal year ending July 31. Of that total, $1.9 million represented gifts from previous pledges.

Giving to CSU’s Annual Fund, recently renamed the CSU Fund, also set a new record: $3.3 million toward a $3 million goal.

“Our alumni and friends continue to amaze me with their generosity,” Mescon said. “All of us at Columbus State are deeply grateful for their support, which will benefit our students and faculty today and in the future. It is fantastic."

Mescon believes one reason for the increase in giving is that school supporters are liking what they see. News such the first ever ranking as a top school by U.S. News & World Report, the growth of the honors program, the explosion of students studying abroad and the national accreditation of the chemistry department by the American Chemical Society resonates well with donors, he said. In the latest rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked CSU No. 92 among regional universities in the south.

"People want to invest in excellence and in the long term future success of the school," Mescon said.

He added that the "My First Choice" advertising campaign was very effective in promoting CSU.

Alan Medders, CSU's vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation, said that the rise in giving is particularly extraordinary, given external circumstances.

“To have an increase somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 percent over last year in private philanthropy, in this type of economy, is saying something significant about the support and appreciation that the community, our alums and our friends have for Columbus State,” Medders said in a press release. “They see the great things happening on campus, and they want to be involved and want us to continue on the trajectory that we’re on.”

Medders added that dozens of volunteers helped Columbus State establish the new fundraising records, offering a special word of appreciation for the work of Russ Carreker, president and CEO of a local IT company, for agreeing to chair CSU’s Annual Fund drive for a second year.

This is the fifth consecutive year giving to the Annual Fund has established a new record. The previous record of $2.9 million in 2011-2012 represented an $800,000 increase from 2010-2011. That, plus the $400,000 increase from the previous year totals $1.2 million in giving growth over the past two years.

CSU Director of Annual Giving Brett Evans said in the release, “At CSU, our generous alumni and friends continue to enhance the culture of philanthropy here through their annual gifts. Our institution is very fortunate to have an incredible group of donors and advocates, led by our foundation trustees, who understand the impact that CSU has on our students and the value CSU adds to our community.”

Annual giving supports many needs across campus, including academic programs, student scholarships, community outreach, student development, faculty development and opportunities for distinction.

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