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Southern Illinois reaches $75M target in alumni fundraising

May 31, 2019

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University in Carbondale says it received more than 60,000 individual donations to reach a fundraising goal of $75 million.

School officials announced this week that the Forever SIU fundraising target was met seven months ahead of schedule, the Southern Illinoisan reported.

“The university and board of the SIU Foundation had confidence in its alumni and friends,” said Chancellor John Dunn. “And we’re not stopping here. We view the $75 million as a floor, not a ceiling.”

The three-year campaign began in January 2017. About $40 million of the donations were made to fund student scholarships. Another $33 million was given to update the university’s academic programs, and to attract, train and retain faculty.

The 2019 SIU Day of Giving was the pinnacle in the fundraising with over $875,000 donated by more than 2,400 donors from 45 states and 10 countries, nearly doubling 2018 figures.

“It’s a monetary reward, but it’s also encouragement. It’s a way to encourage students to keep moving forward.” said Danielle Lorentz, a senior majoring in communications studies, who cited scholarships as a crucial reason she chose SIUC. “I can’t wait until I have an opportunity to be an alumnus and also give back to this university.”

SIUC boasts the 41st-largest alumni network in the country.

Rae Goldsmith, the university’s spokeswoman and vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, said the emphasis has been on building momentum and engagement among graduates.

As Goldsmith takes control of the SIU Foundation, the university’s fundraising branch, she’s started planning its next move. The priority will be on the stories motivating alumni support for SIUC, she said.

Jimmy Wright, who received a master of fine arts degree from SIU in 1971, is one example.

While residing in Carbondale, Wright’s home caught fire, decimating his art materials and belongings.

“I was devastated,” Wright said, last year. “It was only through the generosity of students and faculty members from the art department who donated their artwork in an auction that I was able to get back on my feet.”

He paid that kindness forward during Forever SIU, with a $1 million gift to subsidize fellowships for graduate students in art.

The present campaign will remain open to contributions through the end of the year, Goldsmith said.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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