When the “For All We Call Mizzou” fund-raising campaign officially went public on Friday, MU had raised more than 50 percent of its $600 million goal.
David Housh, vice chancellor of development and alumni relations, announced the totals at an opening reception in Jesse Auditorium — an event packed with alumni, donors and guests. The goal is to raise $600 million for MU by the end of 2005.
“It’s a very, very ambitious goal,” said Larry McMullen, the campaign’s national steering committee co-chair. “We’ve never attempted to raise anything like $600 million. The previous campaign had a goal of $175 million and we thought that was a lot.”
Housh said MU owes the campaign’s success to the generosity of alumni, friends, corporations, foundations and grant agencies as well as to the efforts of faculty, staff, administrators and students.
The money raised during the campaign will be used to fund four areas of MU: students, faculty, programs and facilities.
Katie Farr, a junior marketing major and a Trulaske scholar, spoke about the important impact of scholarships on students. She said receiving a scholarship allowed her to make the most of her education.
“Someone, some stranger, cared about my education,” she said. “Someone wanted to see me succeed and that made me feel really good.”
John Cook, a trial lawyer from Cape Girardeau, said that he will be contributing to this campaign, and he will make further contributions to the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence. This is a fund the chancellor can use at his discretion.
Cook’s largest previous donation to the university was the Thomasson, Dickerson, Gilbert and Cook scholarship for law students.
Cook graduated from MU with a degree in political science in 1972 and received his law degree from MU in 1975.
“I have multiple reasons for giving to the university,” Cook said. “The first is pure and simple gratitude. This university opened the doors of the world to me.”
As a member of the steering committee involved in collecting money from MU alumni, Cook said he doesn’t want private gifts to take the place of state funding. State funding represents about 17 percent of MU’s annual budget, Chancellor Richard Wallace said.
Cook said people should not stop donating money because the economy is going through a rougher stage.
“When you’re in tough economic and budgetary times, that’s not the time to quit funding your best economic prospect,” he said.
With retirement just around the corner, the campaign kickoff was one of Wallace’s last important MU moments as chancellor. Wallace received a standing ovation following UM system President Elson Floyd’s praise for the work Wallace has done during his tenure. Wallace said he will dedicate a lot of his time his final year on the job to helping the campaign.
“We’re focusing on folks that have the ability to help us in very large amounts,” he said. “This year I’ll spend much more of my time than I did in the last couple of years visiting with those folks. They’ll have to beat me away.”
When Jack and Mary Bush of Dallas attended MU in the late ’50s, they put a lot of effort toward balancing school work with caring for their young daughter. While worrying about their bills, they never dreamed they would get an auditorium named after them.
Jack Bush, a business graduate, went on to become president of Michael’s; he retired in 1995. Mary Bush, a music graduate, became president of a choral group. The Jack and Mary Bush auditorium in Cornell Hall is the College of Business’s tribute to donations made by these MU alumni.
Jack Bush said he thinks this campaign is going to make a difference in how much MU will improve over the years.
“The momentum is going strong and it’s going to continue,” Jack Bush said.
Mary Bush said it’s gratifying to see that the university looks better than when they graduated.
“Our ultimate goal remains the same — to make the University of Missouri a great university — with undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of unparalleled quality,” said Floyd.
Future campaign plans include 14 different public announcements across the country in areas with large numbers of alumni including Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Houston, Housh said.
“We’re going to contact people one-on-one to remind them of what they owe to the university for what it’s given to them,” McMullen said. “They know that. They just need to be reminded of it.”