More than 11,000 alumni, parents and friends demonstrated their commitment to Sam Houston State University with gifts and pledges totaling $21.5 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
“We are grateful to have a strong base of committed supporters who understand the importance of giving,” President Dana Hoyt said. “They proudly do so because they know that investments into scholarships, new areas of study and facilities allows us to attract deserving students and esteemed faculty.”
According to Frank Holmes, vice president of the Office of University Advancement, there is much to celebrate in the significant growth SHSU has achieved with almost 18 years of concentrated work in fundraising and alumni cultivation.
“Through the tremendous work of former President James Gaertner and President Hoyt, there is a strong focus in all areas of advancement,” Holmes said.
Moreover, fundraising grew from $2.8 million raised in 2002 to $21.5 million in 2018. This increase reflects the number of individuals who give annually. In 2002, only 2,100 people comprised SHSU’s donor-base. That number has grown to over 11,000 today. Holmes credits the success in part to an active administration and loyal alumni.
“We continue to expand and raise the level of our services,” Holmes said. “We are engaging more alumni who want to give back to their alma mater. We are alsoreaching out earlier and now have active programs for young alumni as well as students.”
Recent numbers show the university’s alumni membership is continuing to grow. A significant milestone— reaching the benchmark of 3,000 Life Members, marked this year’s Annual Life Member Celebration.
Holmes also sees the variety of options people have today for how they give, as playing an important role in the university’s fundraising success.
“With the SHSU Foundation, for example, the gifts are managed by a board responsible for representing the donor’s interest. It also provides investment and expenditure flexibility,” Holmes said.
While the latest fundraising total does not exceed the largest gift in the university’s history – $25 million from alumnus Fred Pirkle in 2015 – the total will enable SHSU to make a substantial impact on the lives of students, just as Pirkle’s gift has done.
Pirkle’s endowment helped fund the construction of the Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center. Additionally, the gift has made it possible to provide new student scholarships each year and fund faculty positions, internships and other academic enrichment. Since that time, The College of Science and Engineering Technology has become one of the fastest growing colleges at SHSU.
Additionally, the university was recognized by the Student Loan Report as one of the top public colleges where students earn the most scholarship funding.
“Because of our very generous alumni and friends, the university can support student success for generations to come, helping make Sam Houston State University a great name in education,” Hoyt said.