50 Million Reasons to Feel Optimistic

This week, we kick off a new academic year at MSUM and, despite the challenges we still face due to COVID, I couldn’t be more optimistic about our future. I know I’m not alone. In fact, there are thousands of MSUM alumni and friends who feel so optimistic about our future that they’re willing to invest in it.

In 2019, when we publicly launched MSUM’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, we’d already been raising money for several years in the “silent phase” of the campaign. We were making steady progress toward our $50 million goal when COVID hit. With $10 million remaining, I confess that I thought our chances of reaching our goal were negligible.  Raising $10 million during a pandemic just didn’t seem possible.

Clearly, I shouldn’t have underestimated our Dragon Family—or the leadership of our Foundation Board and University Advancement team. Not only did we raise the $10 million to achieve our goal, we raised an additional $9 million to take our campaign total to $59 million.  That makes last year the best fundraising year in the history of MSUM, almost doubling the amount raised in our previous best year.

The dollars are important. They’ll fund scholarships, and provide program support, and a new building for the MSUM Foundation, whose staff and volunteers lead our fundraising efforts. In short, that $59 million will be critical to ensuring that the university continues to thrive.

But each dollar also represents something else. Something much more. Something that, to me, feels priceless:  A belief in the transformative power of higher education and a belief in MSUM.  A belief in our students—and everything they’ll accomplish because of their MSUM education.

Every new academic year is cause for optimism. This year, we’ve got 59 million reasons to feel hopeful.

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