Kent State expected to announce the largest fundraising campaign in university history following board approval

Owen MacMillan Assistant Managing Editor

Kent State has raised $295.5 million in what is already the largest single fundraising campaign in the university’s history.

The information regarding the campaign emerged from a presentation by Valoree Vargo, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement at the Board of Trustee external relations and philanthropy committee meeting Wednesday.  

The fundraising has been in a “quiet phase” according to Eric Mansfield, assistant vice president of university communications and marketing. This means the university has been going to donors directly rather than making a public request for donations.

“Our largest focus in this campaign is the priority of student’s success,” Vargo said during the meeting. “Which includes programs that ensure access, award achievement, enhance experiences and foster completion.”

For the 2021 fiscal year the university raised $21.5 million, surpassing the goal of $20 million for the year by six percent. Vargo said that the university started the campaign with a goal of $350 million and that the university is 74% of the way towards that goal.

The fundraising goal for the “student success” aspect of the campaign was $100 million and the university has currently raised $83.1 million for that purpose.

“We are really, really hopeful that we can blow past that hundred million dollars during the public phase of the campaign,” Vargo said.

President Todd Diacon mentioned the fundraising project on Aug. 31 in an email announcing the appointment of Lamar Hylton as executive vice president of student affairs and the promotion of Vargo to vice president from the interim position she held for the last year.

In the statement, Diacon referenced the campaign as the “largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in Kent State history.”

After board approval, the campaign will be formally announced and opened to the public at halftime of Kent State’s homecoming football game against Bowling Green State University on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The previous largest fundraising campaign in Kent State’s history was the Centennial Campaign, which ran from 2009 to 2011 and raised over $265 million, which this new campaign has already surpassed.

Owen MacMillan is assistant managing editor. Contact him at [email protected].