University fundraising campaign to go public as total nears $100 million

Christina Stavale

After completing the most successful fundraising year ever by raising nearly $28 million in fiscal year 2007, the university is on its way to launching the public phase of the Centennial Campaign.

The Centennial Campaign, Kent State’s major fundraising drive, will end in 2010 with the university’s 100-year anniversary and is currently in its silent phase.

Kathy Stafford, vice president for university relations, said the university began planning for this fundraiser in 2003. Its goal for the campaign is $200 million.

Gene Finn, vice president for institutional advancement, said the university has raised nearly half that amount.

“We’re almost halfway to the goal,” he said. “When we get to $100 million, we will launch the campaign publicly.”

He said he expects this to happen within the year, and once the campaign goes public, the university will host a variety of public events to show what Kent State is.

Finn began doing work for the campaign in April, lining up leaders and collecting leadership gifts from the university’s most loyal alumni and donors.

He said the money raised by the campaign will have a strong impact on students.

“Really what we’re going to be focusing on is scholarships and faculty positions,” Finn said. “There will also be some renovations.”

The biggest of these renovations, he said, will be to the Music and Speech Center. The renovations will cater toward the School of Theatre and Dance because of a gift of $6.5 million from the Roe Green Foundation.

Finn said a major priority of this campaign will be scholarship money, as the cost of higher education continues to rise.

Much of the public’s interest in Kent State, he said, has to do with having a new president and the work President Lester Lefton and other Kent State employees have done for the university.

“My colleagues have worked for a new sense of loyalty to the university,” he said.

Ultimately the university is hoping to surpass $200 million in its fundraising campaign by 2010.

“I think the possibilities are very good that we’ll go over our goal,” he said.

Contact principal reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].