MU tops $1.4 billion in fundraising campaign | Higher Education

After eight years of giving, the “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” fundraising campaign has passed $1.4 billion.

The campaign was publicly launched at Mizzou Arena in 2015 to much fanfare, including a performance from MU alumna Sheryl Crowe and an appearance from then student-athlete, now Olympian, J’den Cox, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The goal of the campaign, which had already raised $650 million in a silent phase starting in 2012, was clear: MU would raise $1.3 billion by June 30, 2020.

MU reached that number in March, more than three months early, and has now exceeded the original goal by raising $1.4 billion as of Sept. 25, according to an MU news release. This money has gone toward scholarships, research and improving the university’s infrastructure.

According to MU, the larger “Our Time to Lead” campaign is credited with a 101% increase in the university’s endowment, which totaled around $1.17 billion as of January 2020. It has also lead to the establishment of four signature centers and institutes, each with their own endowments of more than $10 million. There have been 30 new endowed positions created by the campaign.

One of the major objectives of the campaign was infrastructure. The lack of consistent state funding had caused roadblocks for MU when embarking on new infrastructure projects, Tom Hiles, former vice chancellor for advancement at MU, told the Missourian in 2019. Hiles retired in August 2019.

“We’ve had very few capital dollars allocated from the state, so we’ve had to get creative to build new facilities,” Hiles said.

Some of the new facilities built include the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Thompson Center for Autism, the Missouri Orthopedic Institute and the Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center.

The most recent gift, which pushed the campaign over the $1.4 billion mark, came in the form of a $2 million donation from Dick and Donna Otto. The Ottos are both two-time MU alumni, each having received undergraduate and master’s degrees from MU, the release said.

The Ottos‘ contributions focus on the Sinclair School of Nursing. Their donation will support a new building project, establish a scholarship in Donna’s name and an endowment to honor Dick’s mother, the release said. Donna Otto earned her degrees in nursing.

“If you have been associated with nursing at any point over the last 50 years, it’s likely you’ve gotten to know the Ottos,” Jackie Lewis, MU vice chancellor for advancement, said in the release. “Their story will be told through the students and faculty whose lives have been enhanced by the Ottos’ legacy of service and support.”

“I’m so inspired by the commitment of our alumni and friends to lead Mizzou into its future of excellence,” UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi said in the news release. “Their generosity will make a great impact on our talented students, faculty and staff as they continue to advance the university through student success, research and engagement.”

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