Contact: Checky Herrington
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Inspired by the overwhelming response to “Infinite Impact” ― the most successful fundraising campaign in university history ― Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum announced a historic retargeting of the campaign with a fundraising goal of $1 billion by 2020 during a news conference today [April 28] on campus.
“When the campaign opened to the public six years ago, supporters stepped up like never before to demonstrate their belief in Mississippi State’s bold vision for the future,” said Keenum. “Donors representing virtually all walks of life in the MSU community helped achieve the $600 million fundraising goal far ahead of schedule, and the momentum continues.
“Now it’s time to raise the bar even further in our journey to become one of the nation’s leading research universities,” Keenum said. “We know we can count on the support of our generous donors to help us secure an additional $400 million in gifts by 2020.”
Keenum said donations to Mississippi State are investments in the future as student-led research teams continue making groundbreaking strides in a number of fields with local, national and global impacts. Mississippi State scientists are designing the eco-friendly “Car of the Future,” finding a cure for pandemic flu, developing concussion-free helmets, and partnering with NASA on future space exploration.
Mississippi State has been in the top 10 nationally in agriculture-related research for more than 15 years and is applying its vast body of knowledge to find solutions for world hunger and food security. The university also serves as the national lead for the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and last year Boeing selected MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory for relocation of their Stitched Resin Infusion Composite Research Center.
The success of Infinite Impact has helped expand scholarship programs for students across the spectrum from differing economic backgrounds and driven sweeping improvements in all spheres of campus life, including academics, athletics, the arts, and facilities and infrastructure.
“Infinite Impact is being fueled by donors who want to make a positive difference in the lives of people everywhere,” said John Rush, MSU’s vice president for Development and Alumni. “With their support, Mississippi State has become more competitive and successful in its efforts to recruit top-performing students and faculty who will continue building our legacy of academic excellence.”
With record enrollment last fall, MSU also welcomed the largest and most academically advanced freshman class in school history. This month, MSU seniors Natalie Jones of Flowood and Johnie Sublett of Pensacola, Florida, were recognized as Truman and Goldwater scholars, respectively, two of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships for students. In 2013, Vicksburg native Donald “Field” Brown became MSU’s second Rhodes Scholar, the world’s most celebrated and prestigious international fellowship.
Since the launch of Infinite Impact, Mississippi State athletes have achieved unprecedented milestones. The Bulldogs vied for the 2013 national baseball championship, and the following year the football team held the No. 1 national ranking for five consecutive weeks. This year, the women’s basketball team achieved its highest national ranking in university history on its way to the NCAA’s Sweet 16.
Mississippi State also is a powerful economic driver for the state of Mississippi. Last year MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering announced an international collaboration in automotive materials engineering with the Universitie Internationale de Rabat in Morocco. MSU and the state of Mississippi are exploring opportunities to enhance education, research and economic development through the new relationship.
“What we’re doing drives Mississippi,” said Earnie Deavenport, an alumnus and chair of the Mississippi State University Foundation board who is the retired chairman and CEO of Eastman Chemical Company. “We’re an economic engine for the state and a key asset in building Mississippi’s profile as a research, technology and innovation leader. We plan to build on our momentum by expanding our footprint beyond Mississippi and exploring more opportunities for our students to shape the world of the future.”
Mississippi State continues on the path set forth in the five-year strategic plan adopted in 2012, a plan that renews a commitment to core principles and provides direction for the future — from faculty and student recruitment to cutting-edge research programs to a more diverse, dynamic and enriching campus community.
“The outpouring of support from donors at all levels has been a driving force in Mississippi State’s rise to the top,” Keenum said. “The Infinite Impact campaign has been embraced by a growing community of supporters, and their enthusiasm gets stronger every year. Now we’re taking another bold step forward by asking supporters to recommit to Mississippi State’s future by propelling the Infinite Impact campaign to the $1 billion mark.
“This is not just a financial milestone ― it represents Mississippi State’s aspiration to be the best of the best,” Keenum said. “MSU is well on its way to expanding our position as one of the nation’s premier research universities, and the continued generosity of our donors will make the vision a reality.”
Chartered in 1962, the MSU Foundation administers most of the campus-based fundraising activities and endowment funds. For more on the Infinite Impact campaign, visit www.infiniteimpactmsu.com.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.