EMU launches drive for funds

Eastern Michigan University announced a comprehensive campaign on April 19 called “Invest. Inspire. The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University.” The first phase of the campaign started in July of 2006.

Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations, said the goal of the campaign is to raise 50 million dollars for scholarships, academic programs and facilities.

“It is a comprehensive campaign because anyone can donate money and choose what they want their donation to go towards,” he said. “Many of Eastern’s alumni are donating money for the programs and activities that they enjoyed when they were students.”

Larcom said donators can choose how much they would like to give.

“The amount can range from anywhere from twenty to two million dollars,” he said. “The campaign is set to last three years; we have $33.6 million and are just $16,100,890 away from the campaign goal. We are hopeful and optimistic that we will reach our $50 million goal or exceed it.”

The donations are broken up into colleges and departments, endowed scholarships and endowments, expendable scholarships, undesignated funds and miscellaneous accounts.

The donator gets to decide which area they wish their money to go into.

Jean Noble Parsons, a renowned sculptor and potter, gave the largest gift of its kind in Eastern history of $2.2 million.

People can also donate to the university anonymously. At least three people have donated more than $1 million to the university, each without revealing their identity.

There have been similar campaigns in the past. Larcom said in the mid-1990’s there was a campaign for scholars that generated $17.6 million and lasted until 1997.

Larcom said the campaign is needed.

“The reason why a new campaign is occurring now is because state support is diminishing for public universities,” he said.

“Eastern needs to engage those that want to support the university and donating to Eastern Michigan will benefit the surrounding area,” Larcom said “Since a lot of Eastern’s graduates stay in Michigan, their education and skills can stimulate economic growth.”

Rodney Slater, an alumnus of EMU, is chair of the campaign.

While at EMU in the 1970’s, he was a member of the forensics team and captain of the football team.

Slater served as the secretary of transportation during the Clinton administration. He is now a partner with the Washington, D.C. law firm Patton Boggs, LLP.

In a release regarding the effort, Slater said the campaign represents the beginning of a long-term fundraising effort for Eastern.

“Our success in the short-term is just the beginning,” he said. “I hope that this effort lays the groundwork for a long-term campaign structure that will provide the foundation for continued and ongoing capital efforts in the future.”

The campaign has several priorities including supporting programs for leadership development, internships and research opportunities that are connected to the community.

The campaign is also seeking to create a positive learning environment.

These goals benefit Eastern Michigan students because there will be more scholarships, financial aid, activities on campus, development of facilities and research available.

The campaign will help the community by making more opportunities for volunteer work, internships and global learning.

For more information about the “Invest. Inspire. The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University, “ or to donate, visit the EMU Foundation Web site at www.emufoundation.org.

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