One billion reasons to State Your Purpose

Feb 16, 2016 | Member News

One. Billion. Dollars.

In 2012, Colorado State University celebrated the early and successful conclusion of its first comprehensive campaign. Now, less than four years later, the University is embarking on a far more ambitious quest, looking to raise $1 billion to invest in the never-ending pursuit of across-the-board excellence.

“State Your Purpose – The Campaign for Colorado State University” officially launched Saturday at the annual 1870 Dinner on the CSU campus. The goal is to complete the campaign in 2020 to mark the 150th birthday of the university.

Committed to improvement

“We’re incredibly proud of this campaign – the goals it embodies, the promise it holds, and its symbolism,” Frank told the gathering of CSU’s most passionate donors. “This isn’t a campaign that quietly questions our thinking about the future. This is a campaign that demands a declaration: State Your Purpose. That theme embodies the character of a university that is committed to continuous improvement, that rolls up its sleeves and redoubles its efforts, and that leaves no one behind as we move forward.”

Brett Anderson, vice president of University Advancement, shepherded the first campaign to a successful conclusion despite the lack of an established culture of giving at CSU. He announced that the new campaign already has raised more money – nearly $540 million – in just over three years than the previous campaign raised in seven full years.

Anderson expects an even more enthusiastic response for this campaign from alumni, corporations, foundations and other friends of Colorado’s only land-grant university.

“The first campaign took seven years and really changed the way people thought about Colorado State University and private support,” he said. “We are just three-and-a-half years into this campaign and the support has been tremendous. Our generous and committed supporters recognize that we are on a phenomenal trajectory as a university, and that private support is essential if we are to continue on that impressive course.”

Private support a necessity

Anderson said private support is more essential than ever as CSU continues to strive for across-the-board excellence. He expects private support to outpace state funding at CSU for the fifth consecutive year. CSU raised $173 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year – the most ever raised by a single college campus in Colorado – while the state contributed just over  $100 million.

“We are thriving because of the generosity of our amazing alumni and supporters,” Anderson said. “They see the path we are on, and they want to support a a national leader. We are solving real-world problems and educating tomorrow’s leaders.

Changing the game

“Our first campaign woke up a group of people and got them  reconnected with us and willing to invest in this great university. This campaign’s  goal is to get even more people engaged to support the state’s flagship institution.”

Anderson outlined several primary goals of the campaign:

  • Dramatically increase the number of scholarships so CSU can continue to attract, recruit and create access for outstanding students from the state, the country and the world
  • Invest in world-class infrastructure – classrooms, labs, residence halls and athletics facilities – so CSU can achieve across-the-board excellence
  • Provide resources to exceptional programs so CSU can attract the leading faculty and staff minds in the world to further research and teaching
  • Significantly increase CSU’s endowment for the long-term financial health of the University

Lofty goal

“Raising a billion dollars would put us in an exclusive club – only a small number of universities have completed billion-dollar campaigns,” Anderson said. “It’s a monumental and meaningful task, and it’s also the ideal target when we looked at the needs of the institution to continue on our path toward excellence. If we want to continue on our journey to become the greatest land-grant university in the country, we need to successfully complete this campaign.”

Janisa Garcia, a senior from Aurora, Colo., majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, is the first in her immediate or extended family to attend college. She works three campus jobs to help pay for her education – and is an ardent supporter of the campaign.

“It’s not easy to pay for college, so I give to the university because I know there are peers of mine who need help,” Garcia said. “I tell other students philanthropic support is important because it will make CSU better, and that helps all alumni because when CSU gets better our degrees become even more valuable. Believe me, I don’t give a lot of money but I know every little bit helps.”

Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, is co-chair of CSU’s comprehensive fundraising campaign committee, which includes representatives from across campus. He said internal support is critical to the success of the campaign.

“Our challenge is to help people understand that the direction and priorities of the campaign are not simply to put cash in the bank,” he said. “This campaign is an investment in our future because we won’t be able to create opportunities for excellence for our students and faculty without private support.

“I think it is a very realistic goal for us to be among the very best land-grant universities. Colorado State is a remarkably outstanding institution and this campaign will raise it to another level.”

Seeking greatness

Frank became CSU’s 14th president during the first campaign, and he had an active hand in helping the university transform itself with new classroom and research facilities, state-of-the-art residence halls and increased scholarship funds that have helped boost enrollment to record levels. He’s excited that State Your Purpose – The Campaign for Colorado State University already is off to a fast start.

“We’re ahead of schedule because of our donors who are passionate about Colorado State University,” he said. “We will succeed in reaching our goal, and when we do, we will have raised $1 billion to support our students, faculty and access to excellence. We will have ensured that greater numbers of our graduates leave with a diploma and not a crippling debt load. We will have given our faculty the resources to continue to make groundbreaking discoveries that transform our world. We will have expanded opportunities for student veterans. And we will have demonstrated that excellence is built with the leadership of people who have both a sense of purpose and the vision to lead us forward.”

Watch Frank’s remarks in their entirety here.

To learn more about the campaign or to lend your support, visit

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