COLUMBIA — Apparently everyone got the memo: Show up Friday morning at Jesse Hall in your best black and gold. And don’t forget your big dollar-sign button bearing the words “Billion Club.”
MU officially joined that club Friday with Chancellor Brady Deaton’s announcement that donations and gifts to the university have surpassed $1 billion in the university’s "For All We Call Mizzou" campaign, set to end in December.
A partial breakdown of the $1 billion:
$210 million toward an additional 1,500 merit- and need-based scholarships
$79 million toward 86 new endowed faculty positions
$448 million toward programs and facilities
$233 million in grants toward research
Approximate total gifts by donor group:
Alumni — $371.1 million
Friends (non-alumni) — $173 million
Corporations — $136.4 million
Foundations —$63.7 million
Grants — $233.4 million
Organizations — $14.3 million
Faculty/staff/retirees — $8.4 million
The milestone makes MU one of about 20 public institutions in the country to have successfully completed such a campaign.
“It just feels fantastic,” Deaton said after the announcement, which came amid long applause and a shower of black and gold confetti and balloons. A burst of a song named for the campaign briefly played over the loudspeakers in the rotunda of Jesse Hall.
“Even during these times, as we have seen this spiraling downward on Wall Street, donations have so far continued to come in, and in the last six weeks, several donors have stepped forward with major gifts,” Deaton said.
Those gifts resulted in a $28 million increase in the campaign total during September and October alone, Deaton said.
In an interview after the celebratory news conference, Deaton said though the economic downturn hadn’t yet slowed campaign contributions, it remained a concern.
The money raised could allow MU to become a key player in strengthening Missouri’s economy, UM System President Gary Forsee said.
“Our vision has certainly included discovering more ways for the University of Missouri to do business around the world and in our state to strengthen our state’s economy to try to do what we can to provide an impetus to move away from this recessionary period,” Forsee said in his remarks to the gathering.
About $210 million has gone toward creating an additional 1,500 merit- and need-based scholarships for students, an accomplishment committee co-chair Larry McMullen lauded.
“Students need scholarships now more than ever, particularly with these economic times,” McMullen said. “Because of all that 'For All We Call Mizzou' has accomplished, the university is going to ride out these stormy economic times.”
Campaign co-chair William Thompson Jr. said the campaign, which raised $79 million to create 86 new endowed faculty positions, will help MU attract faculty and staff during a time when MU has struggled to keep faculty salaries competitive with salaries at peer institutions.
“Endowing permanent financial resources to attract and retain the world’s most highly regarded academic talent is crucial to our success, and this campaign has greatly increased Mizzou’s competitive position,” Thompson Jr. said.
Deaton said events such as the School of Journalism’s centennial celebration in September aided the campaign indirectly.
“(Those kinds of events) instill a sense of pride and accomplishment, and the public and alumni respond to that,” he said.
The campaign was launched in January 2000 with a fundraising goal of $600 million, which seemed lofty to campaign organizers at the time.
“Believe you me, yours truly was very, very nervous that we would not be able to reach that $600 million goal,” Richard Wallace, MU’s then-chancellor, confessed to the audience. “I doubt there’s anyone here that would have taken seriously the proposition of (raising) $1 billion in eight years.”
But in less than five years, donations and gifts had surpassed that target, and a new goal was set:Raise $1 billion by the end of this year.
David Housh, vice chancellor of development and alumni relations, said MU has received 138 gifts of more than $1 million each in the past eight years of the campaign.
The celebration will have a part two, Deaton said — an event on April 25 at Mizzou Arena, though no details were available Friday.