By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The Centennial Campaign sits at $107 million as this academic year comes to a close – $43 million short of where the university would like to be by the end of December – said Phil Boone, director of the Centennial Campaign.
Despite the difference, Boone said he is confident the $150 million goal can be reached by the Dec. 31 deadline set more than two years ago.
“We feel very positive,” Boone said. “We are certainly grateful to God for his blessings at this point to our efforts. We are very grateful for the way alumni and friends have supported our campaign.”
Despite his optimism, Boone said it is possible the goal will not be met by the year’s end.
“We will raise $150 million or more, but it might not be by Dec. 31” Boone said. “When you’re working with people on multimillion-dollar gifts, timing is key.”
However, Boone said timing could be on the university’s side, with the campaign deadline coming in December.
“Fall is always an exciting, momentous time as well as the year-end. We expect to see a big surge [in giving],” Boone said. “People get excited with the opening of a fall semester.”
He also said he expects more people to give because time is running out to contribute to the Centennial Campaign. People who have been intending to participate in the campaign will realize this is their last opportunity, he said.
Boone said the $150 million campaign was announced in February 2004 after university administrators looked at goals, objectives and projects they wanted to see accomplished and then added up the projected costs of those projects.
The Centennial Campaign divides into three categories: $22 million for the annual fund, which is what helps run the university on a day-to-day basis; $34 million for capital improvements, which includes building projects and library acquisitions; and $94 million for the endowment fund, which provides reliable income and scholarships for the university every year through interest.
Boone said the university has prioritized projects it would like to see funded first in the campaign. Of the major projects still waiting for funding, Boone mentioned the new Robert D. and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center, which the university would like to be able to break ground on as soon as possible. About half of its $14 million price tag has been funded at this point. He also said the university would like to raise about $2 million more to complete the missions endowment.
Should the university not be able to reach the $150 million goal by the end of December, Boone said the university could push the deadline back into 2007, although he did not want to speculate on a new date.
“We’re not ready to discuss deadline alternatives,” Boone said. “We’re still positive and believe we’ll meet our goal.”