On Oct. 26, 2019, Missouri State University unveiled the “Onward, Upward” campaign to the public. Now over a year later, the campaign is in its endgame and has helped establish a new scholarship available to students.
The campaign is scheduled to run until 2022 with the goal of raising $250 million for the university.
As of Oct. 29, the campaign has raised over $206 million, according to Brent Dunn, vice president for university advancement.
“Right now we are ahead of the game, but even if we get to $250 million we’re really not done,” Dunn said. “here will be things we just haven’t completed yet, so we’re on the clock. Worst case scenario we end on Dec. 31, 2022.”
According to Dunn, while COVID-19 has slowed funding from smaller locations to the university, large donations from sponsors still continue. The virus has also affected being able to visit donors and alumni, something Dunn said he misses doing.
Dunn said “Onward, Upward” funding will go into areas such as developing scholarships, providing support for faculty and programs and capital projects around the university. These line up with the university’s Long Range Plan to improve over the next 5 years.
Scholarships are created through the Missouri State Foundation. This department handles all donations and gifts to the university. Alumnus Phillip Roberts attended MSU through the GI Bill and graduated in 1950 with a degree in finance and general business. Recently he founded the Phil Roberts Scholarship to aid business students with a $1 million donation to the MSF.
The scholarship requires business students to earn at least a 3.0 GPA while working in the College of Business. 22 Phil Roberts scholarships will be available per semester, each one funding students with $2,000.
David Meinert, dean of the college of business, was thankful for Roberts’ help.
“The endowed Phil Roberts Scholarship Fund will benefit COB students for generations to come,” Meinert said. “Scholarships mean so much to recipients, they are often the difference in students being able to finish their degrees and pursue their careers.”
Faculty support includes the creation of professorships and chairs in programs that allow the recipients more time and funding to research their field. Program support includes the funds allocated to departments all across the campus, including athletics.
Dunn said both will “never really be done,” since both faculty and programs require funding each year to continue to grow, provide materials and educate students.
Capital projects include infrastructure, such as the renaming of buildings and construction across campus. Dunn said one project currently underway is the construction of a permanent pavilion on the north side of Craig Hall for Tent Theater.
Dunn said future events planned around “Onward, Upward” include the 40th anniversary of the Missouri State Foundation on Jan. 13, 2021. MSU Alumnus John Goodman prepared as the host.
The “Onward, Upward” portion of MSU’s website has a daily tracker of the funding from the campaign. It also reports on what has been created with the funding and has messages from both President Clif Smart and Alumnus John Goodman about the campaign.