"If not now, when?"
With that simple question, Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, announced the public launch of the Cornerstone Campaign to raise $60 million for Fort Hays State University.
"This campaign more than anything is about people," Chapman said during a campaign kickoff event Friday evening in the FHSU Memorial Union. "It is our students and faculty who will benefit from new scholarships, endowed faculty positions, enhanced research, departmental projects, athletic programs, technology upgrades and renovations. These are all elements critical to our university's mission and why the Cornerstone Campaign is vitally important to the future of Fort Hays State University."
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, joined Chapman in emphasizing the critical timing of the capital campaign. "With the local, national and international economies struggling, some questioned whether this was the right time to launch such an ambitious fund drive," the president said. "We believe the timing could not be better. Nothing is more vital to an economic turnaround than higher education, which provides the trained workers to drive innovation and create new enterprises."
The Cornerstone Campaign is the largest fundraising effort ever conducted at Fort Hays State University, seeking to raise $60 million by 2012 in support of the university.
New funds will be raised from alumni and friends of FHSU, private corporations, governmental institutions and foundations. Donations will go toward four areas identified within the campaign: scholarships; professorships; completion of the Picken Hall renovation; and university projects, which include departmental programming, renovations and athletics.
Some gifts to the campaign will be deferred, meaning they will be included in donors' estate plans and will benefit the university at some point in the future.
FHSU alumnus Brooks Kellogg, Steamboat Springs, Colo., and his wife, Gail, are the national co-chairs of the campaign. During the Friday kickoff, they announced that $36.6 million had already been raised during the silent phase of the campaign, which began in 2006. Chairing the campaign for the Kansas region are former professor Ed Stehno and his wife, Donna, of Hays.
Hammond said the campaign was needed to meet budgetary challenges the university is facing and to accomplish the educational goals that have been set for the coming years.
"The timing of the Cornerstone Campaign was designed to address the growth and initiatives identified for the university by the target year of 2020," Dr. Hammond said. "In the face of declining revenues, the state of Kansas simply is not able to fund higher education, including FHSU, at the level necessary to achieve excellence. We are not willing to settle for anything less than excellence, so we call upon our alumni and friends of the university to step forward with vision and generosity for the sake of our students and the future of our state."