The chair of the campaign, John Manno of Shreveport, joined the president of Northwestern State, Dr. Randall J. Webb, to announce the total at a Family Fais Do-Do hosted by the NSU Foundation and the NSU Alumni Association.
“We have conducted two major campaigns, each more successful than the last, during the time I have been privileged to be the president of our beloved alma mater,” Webb said. “We know that the impact Northwestern State on students and our community is profound, and the way our extended family responded over the past years shows Northwestern has a vibrant future.”
Webb said private support from alumni and friends of the university “is becoming increasingly important to Northwestern and other universities in the wake of the substantial reductions in state funding for higher education in recent years.
“Northwestern’s state funding has been reduced from nearly $50 million four years ago to just $29 million for the current fiscal year, and the university faces another cut of more than $9 million under the budget that has been passed by the House of Representatives,” Webb stated.
Starting in 2009, the campaign goal was $25 million over the roughly three-year period.
“What made this a record amount was our Northwestern State family,” Manno said. “At the beginning of the campaign, we talked about this would be about our past, our present and our future. Today, thanks to everyone involved, we know that future is a little more secure for NSU.”
Earlier in the campaign a single gift from the Mary Gallaspy Trust focused on scholarships for future NSU students made a tremendous impact on the total, but Manno and Webb pointed out the overall success of the drive came from the broad base of support.
As a result of this and the previous campaign, since 2000 the impact on the Northwestern State campus includes the creation of three endowed chairs and 53 endowed professorships. An additional six endowed professorships are in the process of completion.
Webb said, “Even substantially exceeding our goals for private contributions during these successful fund-raising campaigns will not offset losses in state funding, because only the interest earned on these donations can be used for scholarships and other programs that enhance the university.”
He added, “Without the monies generated by the NSU Foundation fund drives, the university would be facing even more devastating financial problems than it has been forced to address since 2008. These private funds are being used for hundreds of scholarships that have helped stabilize enrollment at a time when state budget cuts, higher admission requirements, increased tuition costs and other factors have made it difficult to attract and retain students.”
For students attending Northwestern State, the NSU Foundation provides record numbers of awards backed by over 250 endowed scholarships and a total of almost 370 scholarship funds.
The Family Fais Do-Do celebration was created to bring together the faculty and staff and members of the Natchitoches area community.
“Tonight was not a fund-raiser, but a chance to thank the entire Northwestern State family for what it has done to help our university,” NSU Foundation executive director Drake Owens said. Owens stressed that event tickets were priced to cover the expenses of the all-you can eat family event.
Along with announcing the record fundraising, Webb told the audience about an upcoming campaign to involve the Northwestern State community in future planning for the 127-year old institution.