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News Clips 03/17/2014
FSU capital campaign launch will go on
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 03/17/14
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By Doug Blackburn
Sitting president or no sitting president, Florida State University leaders will be holding a public launch of the university’s first $1 billion capital campaign as scheduled.
Tom Jennings, FSU vice president for university advancement, had indicated in the days after President Eric Barron’s unexpected hire by Penn State on Feb. 17 that FSU Foundation leaders might want to delay the high-profile launch of the campaign in order to have a president in place for the event.
Within a week, however, all doubt had been erased. Jennings said FSU faculty and administrators as well as key donors across the country were eager to keep the Oct. 16-18 dates they had settled on last year.
The “big ideas” that the campaign is built around — the new Institute for Successful Longevity and an entrepreneur in residence for every one of the university’s colleges, for example — are firmly in place, Jennings said.
Tom Block, named manager of the campaign five months ago, said there is too much momentum to delay the campaign’s launch.
“People feel, whether it’s key university volunteers or internal administrators, Florida State is bigger than any one person — and that’s no disrespect to President Barron,” Block said. “We want to move forward.”
FSU leaders, including the boosters, also want to take advantage of the buzz that will be generated by that weekend’s football opponent — Notre Dame, making a rare appearance at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Many of FSU’s key donors will be in Tallahassee for the game, Jennings said.
Boosters are expected to make up about 25 percent of the total donations when the campaign officially ends on June 30, 2018, Block said.
The $1 billion campaign involves far more than the FSU Foundation. Every dean is working with his or her faculty and graduates of their college to recruit potential donors. The public launch’s first event, on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 16, is a series of dinners at the different colleges involving deans and advisory boards.
FSU already is more than halfway to its $1 billion goal. As of Feb. 1, the university had raised just under $540 million Jennings said.
And yes, Jennings is counting the days — and dollars — through the drive’s target end date.
He told FSU trustees at their March 7 meeting there were 1,576 days remaining in the campaign, meaning FSU gift-seekers will need to collect more than $292,000 every day, including weekends and holidays, through the drive’s end.
“There will need to be a key major gift — or several — down the line to help us get to ($1 billion),” Block said. “Whether it’s an 8-figure or 9-figure gift, Florida State needs that. Any campaign of this size needs a donation like that.”