If there were still such a show, Kennesaw State University leaders would be on it — and would be winners. They are justly proud this month of winning their own version of “Beat the Clock.” That is, they announced last week that they had surpassed their $75 million 60-month fundraising goal, and had done so in just 45 months. In other words, what was supposed to be a five-year fund drive was achieved in less than four.
“We did it in 45 months,” KSU president Dr. Dan Papp said. “It was a 60-month campaign.”
Making that accomplishment even more impressive was that KSU met its mark in the teeth of the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression.
The “New Faces of Kennesaw State” campaign netted both the largest grant that KSU has ever received ($8.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education) and the largest single private contribution ($5 million from an anonymous donor). It also received 14 new gifts of at least $1 million each.
All told, KSU received gifts from more than 5,000 contributors during the drive, totaling more than 17,200 gifts (as some people and companies gave every year).
Helping the fund drive over the top this summer were a $500,000 scholarship pledge, a Georgia Power Foundation grant to KSU’s Georgia Youth Science Teaching Initiative and an anonymous gift of $250,000 to the College of Arts’ theater program.
KSU is now the state’s third-largest school, despite being only 47 years old, boasting 23,000 students. And despite having such young alumni, it consistently ranks in contributions right behind Emory University, the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. KSU’s feat is especially impressive when one remembers that it began as a two-year school and did not even begin offering bachelor degrees until the late 1970s.
In that light, Papp said, KSU is “way ahead of the curve. Now, when I say that a university of our age, with the history of starting a two-year school and gradually becoming a four-year school etc., etc., etc., we’re ahead of the curve.”
No doubt about that. And it got there thanks to strong leadership by the likes of founding President Dr. Horace Sturgis, his successor Dr. Betty Siegel and Dr. Papp; as well as the strong support of the local community.
KSU is truly a school that has come a long way. And the success of the current fundraising drive offers strong hints that many more accomplishments await along the curves ahead.