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Campaign Kickoff Public Launch of $2 Billion Campaign

The “For the Future” campaign had its public launch Friday night in the Bryce Jordan Center with more than 1000 of the university’s most loyal supporters. The campaign, which has been in the “private leadership gifts” phase since 2007, has an overall goal of $2 billion by the end of June 2014.

A portion of that money will go towards increasing scholarship funds, but the full plan includes:

  • enhancing honors education and encouraging innovation across the curriculum;
  • enriching the experiences of students beyond the classroom and preparing them for global leadership;
  • building faculty strength and capacity through support for dedicated teachers and scholars at every stage of their careers;
  • fostering discovery and creativity through interdisciplinary research initiatives; and
  • sustaining the tradition of overall quality for which the University has become recognized around the world.

A Huge Number

$2 billion is a huge number, even by Penn State standards of bigness. And with appropriately big fanfare for a big campaign, Friday night was an event attended by upwards of 1000 people, complete with appearances by the Blue Band and Joe Paterno himself. It marks the beginning of the “public phase” of the project, as opposed to “private leadership donations” since the campaign began back in 2007 that have already raked in over $1 billion. The university is opening the floodgates for donations from alumni, friends of the school (and students, I suppose), and people associated with Penn State in all spheres to help contribute to these goals.

A successful campaign would be a straightforward way of controlling tuition costs. Since state appropriations have proven to be less than reliable, with the likes of the legislature and the table games debacle involved, we have to look beyond them.

Jay Paterno put it nicely:

That low level of state support forces Penn State to seek operating revenues from other sources—most notably tuition and fees…Penn State hasn’t always received such generous support from alumni and friends. There was a time when it was assumed that the state would always take care of Penn State. But that attitude and perception changed dramatically.

Penn State’s vast network of passionate fans seems like it should be capable of meeting the challenge… imagine if alumni gave on average just a dollar. Our huge size makes huge goals possible. After having made it a decent part of the way in their overall goal already, the university held yesterday’s event in part as a celebration of a campaign that had only begun the “public” phase that very day.

When the campaign began three years ago, Graham Spanier summed it up like this:

“For the Future” represents an important opportunity to expand our shared vision of what the University can become.

An increase in state funding for Penn State seems as unlikely as ever before. Either tuition will need to rise or the university’s costs will be offset by some other increase in income. Hopefully Penn State’s ‘For the Future’ campaign provides that needed counterbalance for the university’s budge, as well as a reason to celebrate for years to come.

[Photo: Annemarie Mountz (Penn State Live)]

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About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.

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