Background Image Alternative Text: Students walk past the Colvard Student Union on the first day of classes at MSU

MSU sets new fundraising record with $120.7 million in FY 2021

Contact: Addie Mayfield

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Mississippi State University has once again reached new heights and shattered previous records with a year-end $120.7 million in fundraising support.

The 2021 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, marks the highest single-year giving total in the land-grant institution’s 143-year-old history and represents a 9 percent increase from FY20’s total of $111 million. This achievement is further underscored by its occurrence on the heels of the 2020 conclusion of MSU’s billion-dollar capital campaign.

“The remarkable generosity of Mississippi State University’s alumni and friends, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, is deeply appreciated by our students, faculty and staff,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “These investments ensure academic excellence, support student and faculty success, and provide essential resources for research and creative discovery that are changing the world and growing the economy.”

“This level of support from our loyal alumni and friends during the COVID-19 uncertainties is an inspiring reminder of the strong foundation that continues to sustain and propel our university forward,” said John P. Rush, president and CEO of the MSU Foundation. “In times of need, the Bulldog family always steps up and this year was no different.”

An outstanding demonstration of support was further enhanced through a remarkable one-year investment return of 35.8 percent. The university’s endowment now stands at $698.2 million, an increase of nearly $178 million over the previous year.

MSU’s endowment is composed of nearly 1,700 separately endowed funds. Student scholarships are the largest single component of the endowment, comprising 50.8 percent of the total. More than 4,800 students benefitted from such private scholarship awards in FY21.

Through the support of 20,086 unique contributors, MSU has successfully topped the $100 million mark in private gifts for the eighth consecutive year. Alumni participation at Mississippi State soared to a significant 19.8 percent, enabling MSU to maintain its ranking ahead of several major peer institutions in the measure of support among former students. Additionally, nearly $9.7 million of the total funds raised were accounted from gifts of $1,000 or lower.

Highlights of the 2021 year-end gifts, among others, included:

  • Gifts that support numerous scholarships university-wide. Some examples include additional Presidential Endowed Scholarships that expand MSU's efforts to attract top students; additional Compass Scholarships to assist solid-performing students in any academic area; and additional funds for the MSU Promise program that assists students with potential who are Mississippi residents with economically challenging situations.
  • New endowed faculty positions, including a faculty fellowship in accounting, chair and professorship positions in engineering, a professorship in agriculture with a focus on corn production systems, and a chair for Abraham Lincoln and Civil War studies, among others.
  • Deferred gifts totaling more than $34 million supporting areas across campus. They also bolstered the university’s real estate assets with gifts encompassing some 2,000 acres of land committed to the Foundation in FY21. The MSU Foundation currently holds approximately 12,500 acres of land.
  • Gifts to MSU Athletics totaling $27.5 million, providing resources and support for Bulldog student-athletes and coaches and advancing facility enhancement projects, including the renovation of The Humphrey Coliseum.
  • More than $437,000 in combined gifts and pledges to the Steinway Piano Fund in support of the university’s ongoing All-Steinway Initiative. 
  • $1 million gift to establish a centralized advising program at MSU. The development of the pilot program, led by professional academic advisors, will transform the university’s current advising model and better prepare students to compete in the global, information-driven society.
  • $1.7 million from the Richard C. Adkerson Family Foundation for the creation of two online graduate-level degree programs for the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy, a fellowship for African American students enrolled in the school’s online master’s accounting programs and the endowment of a student chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) at MSU. The gift strengthens accounting education through accessibility and increases inclusive opportunities for underrepresented students in the fields of accounting, finance and the related business professions. Moreover, the addition of the online Master of Professional Accountancy and Master of Taxation programs elevates the university’s competitiveness as one of only four institutions within the Southeastern Conference offering online master’s programs in accountancy.

Other gifts from the just-ended year will secure excellence funds in colleges and schools, enhance research and outreach engagements, provide resources to enrich student experiences and campus infrastructure and provide a steady stream of annual support across the university.

Most of the institution's fundraising is conducted by the MSU Foundation, which was established in 1962 to help attract support from private sources. More information about the MSU Foundation can be found online at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 7:58 am