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LSU Community Unites to Celebrate Success of Forever LSU Campaign

In a historic show of support for LSU, hundreds of alumni, friends and corporations from across the country have generously donated more than $750 million to Forever LSU: The Campaign for Louisiana State University, it was announced Friday, Nov. 12.

What They Are Saying about Forever LSU

Maj. Gen. William G. Bowdon, (U.S.M.C., ret.), President & CEO, LSU Foundation

“The success of the Forever LSU Campaign reflects an unprecedented level of financial support from thousands of LSU alumni and friends. Their commitment to academic excellence will have a long-lasting impact on Louisiana’s flagship university and the state’s future leaders. Every person who has contributed to this campaign, no matter the size of the gift, should feel a sense of pride in this success.”

Dr. Mark Emmert, Former LSU Chancellor and NCAA President

“The Forever LSU Campaign’s extraordinary results mark the culmination of years of collaborative, dedicated work by LSU faculty, staff and donors to advance LSU’s Flagship Agenda. LSU set an aggressive plan for achieving excellence when it introduced the Flagship Agenda. Donors to Forever LSU have helped the university achieve many of those goals, and helped to make LSU one of the best public universities in the country.”

Dr. William Jenkins, President Emeritus

“I am inordinately proud of the generosity and commitment of our LSU donors and benefactors as we attain the goal set for the Forever LSU campaign. I am equally proud of the dedication and determination of our LSU leaders, as well as the Forever LSU Campaign Cabinet under the able leadership of The Honorable Henson Moore, as they worked so hard and diligently over the years in pursuit of the campaign’s success. We are at a defining time in LSU’s long and proud history. It is now obvious that to meet the university’s mission, goals and objectives, as well as its competitive aspirations, the needed funding will become more and more dependent on private and non-state sources. Hence, the particular significance of the great achievement accomplished by the Forever LSU Campaign.”

Dr. John Lombardi, LSU System President

“The success of the Forever LSU campaign brings essential resources in support of a great university and places LSU among an elite group of institutions capable of mobilizing dedicated support by virtue of the distinction of its programs. The investment of so many people in the future of this university ensures that LSU’s quality will remain forever preeminent.”

The Honorable Sean O’Keefe, Former LSU Chancellor

“From the beginning of my tenure at LSU, I had complete confidence in our university community’s ability to surpass our own expectations. The Forever LSU Campaign is the most significant fundraising effort in LSU’s history. Extensive preparatory work permitted us to launch the campaign at a time of great need, immediately following the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The result is the Tiger spirit is alive and well, and the work of alumni and friends should be congratulated for rightfully positioning LSU as one of the nation’s top universities.”

Maj. Gen. Ronald G. Richard, (U.S.M.C., ret.), President & CEO, Tiger Athletic Foundation

“When the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the LSU Foundation and the LSU Alumni Association came together to launch the Forever LSU Campaign, we did so with the expectation that a coordinated effort would be the best way to serve LSU. And it was, which speaks to the fact that our donors, thousands of alumni and friends who truly care about LSU, are willing to unite to invest in this great university. Their commitment to LSU, even in the toughest economic times, is remarkable.”

Dr. William B. Richardson, LSU AgCenter Chancellor and Chalkley Family Endowed Chair

“The LSU AgCenter is a proud partner of Forever LSU, and we are thrilled the campaign has met its goal. As the research and outreach branch of the LSU System, the AgCenter’s work touches every aspect of life – from the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter to youth development to such life-changing initiatives as promising new cancer treatments. This campaign created a solid foundation to sus­tain our future research and extension activities.”

Dr. James Wharton, Former LSU Chancellor

“There is an old saying that success has many fathers. That is literally true for the historically significant Forever LSU Campaign. We should all be grateful for the vision and tireless efforts that Chancellor Sean O’Keefe put into the establishing the goals and kicking off the Forever LSU Campaign. Today, everyone who contributed or raised funds should take great pride in their contribution to this highly significant accomplishment in the history of Louisiana State University and A&M College. Only time will tell just how important this campaign will be to the future of LSU and to Louisiana. Special thanks should go from the LSU family to the LSU Foundation, the LSU Alumni Association and the Tiger Athletic Foundation, as well as many LSU employees. Extra special thanks should go to the hundreds or even thousands of private citizens led by Henson Moore who shared in the dream of a truly great university.”

A contingent of donors, alumni, current and former university leaders, students, legislators, and members of the business community gathered Friday to recognize the success of the campaign.

“Many very generous people who believe in LSU have invested in LSU with the expectation that this university will continue to excel and grow as one of the great institutions of higher education in this country,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “Like the covenant we have with our students to provide them with a superior education, we have a covenant with these donors to invest their money wisely. It will take a similar commitment from the state of Louisiana to ensure LSU’s continued success for future generations, and this is certainly a resounding statement of that expectation.”

Private donor contributions to the Forever LSU campaign total approximately $753 million, while approximately $34 million in state matching funds has also been contributed to the effort. The historic campaign, publicly launched in 2006 to benefit LSU, the LSU AgCenter and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and concluding Dec. 31, is a joint effort of the LSU Foundation, the LSU Alumni Association and the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

The money that has been contributed to the campaign is mostly in donor-specified funds and is largely invested in ongoing building projects, endowed scholarships for students and endowed chairs and professorships.

“This is an unprecedented show of support from LSU alumni and supports at a time when we face the prospect of unprecedented budget cuts,” said Congressman Henson Moore, chairman of the Forever LSU Campaign. “These generous donors have recognized that an investment in LSU is an investment in the future of Louisiana. But their contributions are not a substitute for the basic budget support LSU needs from the state. By law, contributions can only be used for the purpose for which they were intended by the donor.” 

LSU supporters celebrated the kickoff of the most ambitious fundraising campaign in school history at an announcement event held in New York in June of 2006, an event at which LSU alumnus and political commentator James Carville said, “There is no other state university more important to their state than LSU is to Louisiana.”  Moore has since led a cabinet of more than 50 LSU alumni and friends in nationwide efforts to engage LSU supporters in furthering LSU’s pursuit of excellence and academic distinction among universities worldwide.

Forever LSU surpassed one-third of its $750 million goal by Dec. 31, 2006, with $33 million being raised in six months and the remaining amount having been raised during the silent phase of the campaign, which began in 2001. Forever LSU reached the two-thirds mark just 15 months later, with more than $500 million raised as of March 31, 2008.

Forever LSU’s four pillars are student support, faculty support, university-wide support and campus infrastructure. Since its launch, contributions to Forever LSU have enabled the establishment of 426 professorships, 38 chairs and 794 endowed scholarships. These awards allow LSU to attract and retain outstanding students, professors and researchers.

The campaign has allowed LSU to invest in major capital projects that will prove beneficial for generations to come, including the Shaw Center for the Arts, the Equine ICU at the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Rural Life Museum Visitors Center and the University Lab School Gymnasium. Other projects in progress include the new business education complex, a new band hall and a new chemical engineering building. In addition, donations to athletics have contributed to the construction of a new football operations center, new baseball and softball stadiums, a new basketball practice facility and the renovation of the west side of Tiger Stadium.

In the final weeks of Forever LSU, the campaign’s highest priority will continue to be support for students. Specifically, Forever LSU is focused on increasing funds for need- and merit-based student scholarships. One such scholarship fund is Pelican Promise, a need-based award that pays the equivalent of tuition. This scholarship makes attending LSU possible for nearly 1,500 students in need of financial aid.

As the Forever LSU campaign nears its end, support of the university through private dollars remains critically important to ensuring that LSU continues to be one of the best public universities in the country.

“As we mark the tremendous achievement of raising $750 million in private donations, LSU’s need for private financial support has never been greater,” Moore said. “We must be diligent in moving LSU forward. While this campaign is nearly finished, our work is not.”

Martin praised Moore’s leadership in guiding the campaign to a successful conclusion.

“Plain and simple, this campaign would not have been a success without the vision and leadership of Henson Moore,” Martin said. “In my many years of involvement in higher education, I have never been so fortunate to work with a more passionate and dedicated volunteer than Henson Moore.”