SUU President Michael T. Benson marked an exciting turning point for the Cedar City institution when he publicly launched its $100 million fundraising campaign, The Future is Rising: The Campaign for Southern Utah University,” on Friday evening, Sept. 16.
In a kick-off celebration that included live music from Kurt Bestor with the SUU Symphony Orchestra, Peter Breinholt and The Joe Muscolino Band, as well as running entertainment from masters of ceremonies Brian Vaughn and David Ivers, of Utah Shakespeare Festival fame, Thunderbirds from across the state joined together under the stars in celebration of all that is to come for the school and its students.
With the following recent contributions, according to Benson, the University has raised $60 million toward its ultimate objective:
• $1 million from Garth and Jerri Frehner for a new Business Building
• $1 million from Hyrum and Gail Smith for the new Shakespeare Globe Theatre
• $1.7 million from Maud Tucker on behalf of Rocki Alice and in memory of Frederick D. Trismen for the Southern Utah Museum of Art
• $3 million from D. Eldon Lunt for a new Business Building
Included in the $100 million end goal — the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the institution’s history — are five carefully selected campaign priorities that span all aspects of the University:
• “Enriching Student Life” — $30 million
This includes important enhancements to the programming and resources that facilitate the experiential, hands-on education for which SUU has come to be known.
Key aims will focus on lowering the faculty-to-student ratio, providing more opportunities to augment classroom work and increasing student scholarships.
• “Academic Excellence” — $14 million
Despite enrollment increases and budget cuts, the University is committed to maintaining its hallmark personalized learning environment with the very best faculty and educational tools to carry the University into the future.
To this end, $14 million will be raised in support of faculty positions, educational resources and scholarship.
• “Campus Enhancement and Expansion” — $43 million
SUU’s campus has developed with a keen eye to its uniquely beautiful surrounding environment and natural resources. Future campus enhancement and expansion will remain both strategic to the institutional mission and in harmony with the interests and resources of the greater community.
Portions of such expansion include the much-anticipated Southern Utah Museum of Art, a new Shakespearean Globe Theatre, a business building, university housing and athletic facility enhancements.
• “Community Engagement” — $2 million
Since its inception, SUU has worked to provide outreach services for economic and regional development, partnering with various organizations to enhance the greater community.
Additional support for such endeavors will enhance and expand community services across the region and state, as well as prompt SUU’s students to commit to a wider sphere of service and good will.
• “Emerging Opportunities” — $11 million
This final objective will facilitate the University’s ability to meet a wide range of additional and shifting needs through a variety of gifting programs, including the SUU Fund, deferred gifts, bequests and endowments on which the University can appropriately plan for its future needs.
Additionally, the “Emerging Opportunities” arm of this campaign will designate increased annual funding for SUU’s established partners, including the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Utah Summer Games.