University News

2007, Banner Year for SUU Donors

Published: January 17, 2008 | Category: Campaign for SUU

In many respects, 2007 was a banner year for Southern Utah University: Michael T. Benson became the school’s 15th president; the University once again led the Utah System of Higher Education in student enrollment growth; the Centrum was filled to capacity for one of the largest concerts to ever play in Cedar City; and SUU’s Cross Country teams swept the Summit League Championships.

But most importantly, and the driving force behind all other institutional successes, Southern Utah University donors stepped forward in record droves as the institution recorded its highest fundraising success in its 110 year history.

In the past twelve months, SUU amassed $15,490,000 in gifts and pledges. This 2007 total is nearly $6 million above SUU’s next highest funding year, which was recorded during the school’s last comprehensive fundraising campaign that ran from 1997-2002.

Considering the University is in the early stage of its most ambitious capital campaign to date, a record funding year this early in the game is a welcome sight to University administrators.

Highlights of the year’s donations included a $3 million pledge toward the expansion of the science complex; a $2.2 million gift towards Phase II of SUU’s student housing renovation; a $1 million gift to establish an endowed chair; and $650,000 to the new Emma Eccles Jones Teacher Education building that will open in just a few weeks.

In addition, the school received numerous gifts to academic programming, as well as to SUU’s many affiliated organizations including the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Utah Summer Games and SUU Athletics.

The most recent of the above gifts, the $2.2 million for student housing, will make possible the razing of Manzanita Hall in May of this year and its replacement with Phase II housing to mirror the Eccles Living Learning Complex.

States President Benson, “I can’t overstate how significant this housing gift is, in that we can now move forward with this absolutely vital new project.” Plans are now underway to begin both demolition of the existing 40-year-old Manzanita and construction of the new facilities at the conclusion of spring semester. The new housing will come on line in time for fall semester 2009.

Benson continues, “This was a red-letter year for SUU in terms of private donations and I would like to thank all those who have voted with their funds and resources to support this remarkable institution and its rising future,” stated SUU President Michael Benson. “If we are to reach our campaign goals in time, we’ll have to have this kind of backing from our graduates and friends.”

The Advancement Office at Southern Utah continues to expand under the leadership of Vice President Stuart Jones, who recently returned to SUU after a five-year stint in California. Not only will the entire advancement operation be housed in the ground level of the newly-remodeled Old Main, but the office’s scope and activities will also be greatly enlarged in the coming months with both new staff and more aggressive outreach.

According to Jones, these expansions will “enable the University to match SUU’s potential programming and services with the funding it needs to move forward as a leading university in the state of Utah.”

In addition to funding for bricks and mortar, last year’s donors showed an increased interest in supporting scholarships and departmental efforts across campus. In fact, of the nearly $15.5 million raised in 2007, only 45 percent went toward construction projects, while nearly $8.5 million was allocated to academic initiatives and University programming.

According to Jones, SUU’s donor pool continues to grow and as the University continues to succeed, positive recognition of this regional institution is increasingly translating into financial support. On SUU’s campus alone, the number of faculty and staff who contribute to the school’s funding has risen steadily over the past few years. With the upcoming capital campaign, university officials anticipate internal giving will continue to increase to record numbers.

With so many people interested in supporting Southern Utah University, the school is able to continue building on a heritage of community interest and support. To celebrate the early heroics of SUU’s local community, the University will host a Founders’ Day celebration on March 14 of this year that will include the rededication of its flagship building, Old Main, as well as the dedication of the new Teacher Education Building and the Carter Carillon.

Exactly 110 years after SUU’s founders laid the first cornerstone of Old Main, the community will once again rally to celebrate the people and sacrifices that have shaped, as well as those who continue to shape, the future of this great institution.

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