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$53 Million campaign said to bring major changes to VSU

by LaShawn Oglesby

President William McKinney addressed SGA about the capital campaign which is part of the Valdosta State University’s Strategic Plan that started in 2013 and will continue on until 2019.

A study was conducted last year which led to this campaign that launched in July 1. This is VSU’s “first ever” public comprehensive capital campaign.

According to McKinney, more than 80 percent of the student body takes advantage of some sort of scholarship and financial aid to which McKinney said, “We can do better.”

The top priority for this campaign is student scholarships and the capital campaign. The goal for this campaign was to raise $43,250,000 in five years. However, the goal was raised because by Dec. of 2014 the campaign was going so well that the Valdosta State University Foundation Board of Trustees were so pleased with what VSU was doing that they raised the goal to $53,250,000.

“Today we made a public announcement of the campaign and I am proud to say that from July first until today, March 16, of a $53,250,000 goal, we have raised over $30 million toward that goal,” McKinney said. “The biggest obstacle to students staying at Valdosta State is a financial one it’s not an academic one.”

3,800 plus people have donated to the campaign thus far who have never done so before according to McKinney.
The largest gift donation was from Dr. Brently Jenkins and Brenda Jenkins, a retired physics professor and his wife, who donated $17 million. The plan is to have $21 million out of the total goal go to scholarships for students.

“You all are pretty darn smart,” McKinney said. “You all do really good work. That’s thanks to you. That’s thanks to our faculty. I want to make sure that a student who is good enough to come to Valdosta State has the grades to stay at Valdosta State graduates from Valdosta State. One way we do that is making sure that students who need scholarships get scholarships.”

Student enrichment, faculty enhancement, program opportunities, athletics excellence and facility upgrades are the five areas this campaign is trying to work on.

• Scholarship Support = $21 Million
• Faculty Enhancements = $9.6 Million
• Programmatic Opportunities = $10.25 Million
• Athletics Excellence = $6.6 Million
• Facility Upgrades = $5.9 Million

“This is a campaign for our future,” McKinney said.

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