Contact: Mallory M. Simpson, NIU Foundation President
DeKalb, IL –NIU President John Peters announced today that the university’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign has surpassed its $150 million goal – almost a year early and in spite of the extraordinary challenges faced by the university, state and nation in recent years.
In his annual State of the University address, the president applauded donors who have honored NIU with their generosity, calling them “a solid rock of support” that will help NIU through what he said will undoubtedly be troubled times.
“We have reached our dollar goal, but our work is not done,” said Peters. “Our students are under greater financial pressure than at any other time in recent memory.” The president cited the uncertain status of state MAP grant funding, decreases in parents’ college savings funds and the scarcity of student loans and jobs as major obstacles for students today.
The importance of private support at NIU has grown dramatically over recent years. Previously a staple in the university’s budget, state support has now dropped to 26 percent. Luckily, the university’s philanthropic culture has matured dramatically during the True North campaign. In fact, the university has gone from raising about $35 million in the decade of the 1990s to nearly five times that amount already in the new millennium.
True North has literally changed the landscape at NIU with the addition of three state-of-the-art facilities: Barsema Hall, the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center and the Yordon Center.
Academic horizons have broadened as NIU now has more than 20 named professorships and chairs to support faculty teaching and research. And, the campaign has supported specific programs, such as lecture series for visiting artists and scholars.
With just under one year left in the campaign, the university is now looking to some of the closest members of its family for support. In his address, Peters announced the launch of NIU’s first-ever Faculty and Staff Campaign. The campaign’s tag line, “A Little Kindness” has been popping up for weeks on Huskie bus signs, in the student newspaper and on buttons and water bottles across campus. The “Little Kindness” movement will give all NIU employees an opportunity to become part of True North, NIU’s historic campaign.
“The Faculty and Staff Campaign is about participation,” says Nancy Castle, Faculty and Staff Campaign co-chair. “We hope each member of the NIU family will give what he or she can. It’s not the size of the gift that counts…it’s the act of giving.”
“Our donors have made a tremendous difference here,” continues Mallory M. Simpson, President of the NIU Foundation. “During True North, 13,700 students have already received scholarships totaling more than $8.2 million to help them reach their dreams. We want to see that number continue to grow.”
“Keeping our students in school, on the path to opportunity, is an act of kindness from a caring university,” said Peters. “At the end of the campaign, we will know we did all we could for our students.”