by Geoff Larcom, Published December 15, 2011
More than a year ahead of schedule, Eastern Michigan University's first-ever comprehensive campaign has burst past its $50 million goal, powered by an exciting variety of gifts and bequests that seek to train and benefit students for Michigan's future.
The broad outreach effort, which involves EMU alumni, faculty, students, staff and supporters, is branded "Invest. Inspire. The campaign for Eastern Michigan University." The public phase of the campaign kicked off in April 2010 and was projected to last three years.
"This is a major milestone for Eastern Michigan University," said President Sue Martin. "The support we have received, along with the rapid pace of the campaign, highlights the excitement over our progress and momentum on campus, along with a firm belief in Eastern's ability to offer an exceptional experience for its students."
Said Roy Wilbanks, chair of the EMU Board of Regents: "It is great news to reach this goal so quickly. Even more important is how it represents our broad and consistent commitment to improve students' experiences at Eastern. This successful campaign, coupled with the recently completed renovations at Pray-Harrold and the ongoing $90 million Science Complex project, plus many other recent improvements, point to a time of unparalleled momentum and improvement in EMU's history."
Campaign Chair Rodney Slater stated, "As an alumnus, it has been wonderful to see the EMU community come together to strengthen and transform our institution. I am proud to be involved in setting these building blocks for the future."
Slater was a scholar-athlete, a member of the national champion forensics team and captain of the football team for Eastern Michigan in the 1970s. He served as secretary of transportation during the Clinton administration and is now a partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP.
Added Tom Stevick, Vice President for Advancement at Eastern and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation: "The successful completion of this goal, well ahead of schedule, is a testament to the EMU community and the place Eastern holds in Southeastern Michigan. The University is a beacon of opportunity we have strengthened and will continue to improve. That this goal was accomplished in an environment of extreme economic challenge and uncertainty makes our success even more significant."
Stevick noted that the campaign will continue until June 30, 2012. All gifts received between now and then will be counted toward the final total.
The student-based comprehensive campaign focuses on three priorities:
• Developing leaders for the 21st century by creating support for programs that encourage leadership development and broaden perspectives. This includes independent research projects, volunteerism, global learning, and co-curricular programs.
• Connecting learning to community needs by melding scholarship with real-world challenges and key community needs through support of specialized research and resource centers and internships.
• Sustaining and strengthening the Eastern Experience, which includes support of faculty development, of scholarship, of financial aid and of innovative campus and residential life activities.
The campaign emphasizes that Eastern is a gateway to opportunity and that EMU represents the state of Michigan at its best. The University trains professionals in fields that include nursing, education, technology and business, and is thus a stepping-stone to careers in a knowledge-based economy. In addition, EMU professors most often commit their careers to the future of Michigan, and students tend to remain in the state after they graduate.
The University began the comprehensive campaign with an organizational and planning phase in 2005. In July 2006, an "advance gift" or "quiet" period began. The University plans a special celebratory event for this spring to mark the successful completion of the campaign.
The comprehensive campaign has been powered by thousands of gifts. Among the major donations that help define its success:
• William and Delores Brehm donated $3.2 million to Eastern's College of Education, to establish the Delores Soderquist Brehm Center for Special Education Scholarship and Research, and to fully endow programs they had been supporting for several years on an annual basis. It is the largest gift in the University's history.
• Overseers of the trust for renowned sculptor and potter Jean Noble Parsons donated $2.2 million to establish The Jean Noble Parsons Center for the Study of Art and Science, which is located near Traverse City.
• The American Electric Power Foundation donated $1.5 million to fund an endowed chair in the College of Education. The gift honors EMU Regent Michael Morris, a two-time graduate and Northville resident who retired from the company in November after serving as chairman, president and chief executive officer since 2004. The AEP Foundation also contributed over $850,000 toward the purchase of science equipment during the campaign.
• Alumnus and former Regent Timothy Dyer made a $1.5 million planned gift to the University for the establishment of the Dr. Timothy J. Dyer Distinguished Interdisciplinary Chair in Forensics/Debate and Human Rights.
• Dan McClory, an alumnus and former track and cross country standout, provided the largest gift in the history of EMU athletics, a $1 million pledge of $200,000 for five years each to benefit the men's and women's track and field and cross country teams at EMU.
• Alumnus George Cogar and his wife, Darlene Shaw, made a $1 million planned gift to benefit future students with financial need. Cogar, who lives in Charleston, S.C., but is originally from Saline, earned a bachelor's degree with honors in 1974 and a master's degree in guidance and counseling from EMU in 1977.
Jaclynn Tracy, an EMU graduate and chair of its Department of Leadership and Counseling in the College of Education; and Dale Heydlauff, a 1978 graduate and vice president at AEP, are serving as vice chairs of the campaign.
"While we have accomplished a great deal, this is by no means the end," said President Martin of reaching the $50 million goal. "We view this more as the first step - the beginning of an ongoing effort that focuses on Eastern Michigan's long-term success in producing graduates who are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow."