Building on the momentum generated by the beginning of Dr. Chris Maggio’s presidency, Northwestern State University received record levels of private financial support in 2017.
Donors contributed $4.7 million in commitments for private gifts and matching funds in the first six months of this year — the most in Northwestern history outside of extended capital campaigns.
“This surge in financial support from alumni and others who care about Northwestern will benefit students and faculty and enhance the university now and for years to come,” Maggio said. “These generous gifts that help offset the decline in state funding over the past decade reflect intense loyalty and admiration for the university among its former students and other friends and stakeholders.
“All of us at Northwestern genuinely appreciate these contributions and will work diligently to assure that they expand the excellence and prestige of the university.”
The NSU Foundation, the university’s private fundraising arm, raised $3.6 million, while the Demons Unlimited Foundation, a fundraising operation dedicated to athletics, brought in $1.1 million in new donations since January.
Record fundraising amounts were buoyed by the largest individual one-time gift to the NSU Foundation in its history — $600,000 by alumni David and Sherry Morgan.
Morgan’s gift supports 10 first-generation endowed scholarships, each with a $100,000 endowment. The Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund provided $400,000 in matching dollars to raise the total contribution to $1 million to assist students that are the first in their families to attend college.
“My time at NSU set me on a course that changed my life forever, and Sherry and I are now in a position to help today’s students get the same support that was so critical for us,” said Morgan, who founded the insurance agency United Teacher Associates, Inc., and co-founded the Association Member Benefits Advisors.
“Without scholarship money and the leadership and people skills I acquired at NSU, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did,” Morgan said. “Now we want to help as many students as possible by providing opportunities for outstanding educational experiences at NSU. Sherry and I attribute much of our success to our years at NSU and hope that other alumni and supporters will join us in creating opportunities for future generations of students in a time when private dollars mean more than ever.”
Morgan’s 10 first-generation scholarships are part of 19 first-generation scholarships funded during this period and 27 new $100,000 endowments submitted to the University of Louisiana System and State Board of Regents for approval.
The previous high for matching endowments in a single year was six.
The NSU Foundation’s $3.6 million in funding more than doubles the $1.4 million raised in the first six months of 2016.
Other endowments include six professorships and two graduate student scholarships.
“Permanent endowment funds established through the generosity of our alumni and supporters create a lasting legacy that provide financial stability for the institution and perpetually aids those in need of support,” said Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation and assistant vice president of external affairs.
“Gifts of this magnitude demonstrate the connection our alumni have with NSU and their willingness to give back to ensure that future generations can share in that experience,” Owens said.
In addition to donations and matching funds, the university has received 15 grants totaling more than $5 million.
Those grants include two totaling nearly $500,000 that support rural teachers and students. The grants will help recruit educators to work in rural schools in Natchitoches Parish and the surrounding areas. The grants were awarded to NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development.
When including grants, NSU has generated nearly $10 million in outside financial resources in the past six months.
The crown jewel of athletics’ $1.1 million in funding is $870,000 in sponsorships for a video scoreboard in Turpin Stadium.
The board, which is 17 feet by 54 feet, will feature 15 HD pixel layout that provides image clarity to the entire stadium.
Other highlights include nearly $75,000 in scholarship support and $155,000 in new corporate partnerships.
“The uptick in giving to the Demons Unlimited Foundation, especially as it relates to facility improvements and contributions to the athletic scholarship fund, is a sign of even better support moving forward as additional facility projects and endowment growth are on the horizon,” said NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke. “We are most appreciative of those who have invested in NSU Athletics in the past and need their continued support.
“The timing is also right for new donors to support the Demons Unlimited Foundation and help grow our base of support to help keep up with the rising costs of operating a Division I athletic program. Every gift counts and every gift makes a difference. If everyone embraces that mantra, we can have a record 2017-18 year that will make a huge difference for our student-athletes and coaches.”
The record fundraising levels come on the heels of a seven percent enrollment increase to 9,819 students this past fall, the highest since 2005 when selective admissions began.
“We are confident that this momentum across the board will lead to increased future support for this extraordinary school,” Maggio said.
For more information on supporting student scholarships and other endeavors at Northwestern State University, visit northwesternstatealumni.com or call the NSU Foundation office at (318) 357-4414.
An accompanying video is available at https://vimeo.com/225995738