FHSU's Cornerstone Campaign ends early and $8-million-plus above $60-million goal

06/08/12 ks/tc

HAYS, Kan. -- It was almost six years ago when Fort Hays State University silently launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. The goal of the Cornerstone Campaign, a total university effort that was led by the FHSU Foundation and scheduled to end in November this year, was to raise $60 million.

Halfway through, just as the silent phase was ending, the campaign hit a potential snag. The national economy dipped into a recession, and the Cornerstone Campaign committee discussed timing options and the likelihood of being successful if it moved into the public phase by announcing the campaign and the $60-million goal: $30 million in cash and $30 million in deferred commitments.

"The resounding cry was, 'If not now, when?'" Tim Chapman, CEO and president of the FHSU Foundation, recalled during a news conference today on the FHSU campus. "Total receipted gifts by 2009 exceeded 50 percent of the goal, and the announcement was made we were moving forward with the Cornerstone Campaign."

Joined at the podium by Chapman and leaders of the Cornerstone Campaign, Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, announced that the campaign had far exceeded its goal.

"I applaud the Foundation team and the deans, department chairs and others for their commitment and their work," President Hammond said. "They traveled far and wide to talk with alumni and friends. This joint effort during these tough economic times produced a successful result that is much appreciated by all. That successful result is defined by the final total of $68,743,800."

The president noted that FHSU and the Foundation had kicked off the silent phase in November 2006. "We went public in the fall of 2009 with $36 million receipted at that time," President Hammond said. "We wanted to create giving avenues to support the renovation of Picken Hall; we wanted to add support for Faculty of Distinction chairs and professorships; we wanted to create avenues of additional support for programs across all spectrums of our campus, including the indoor training facility for our student athletes; and we wanted to ramp up scholarship support for students as our enrollment grew and continues to grow at record levels.

"Now we are excited to announce Picken Hall is completed, the training facility will become a reality in the fall of 2013, we more than doubled our Faculty of Distinction positions, and the goal for departmental and university support and scholarships was exceeded by 18 percent. All of this was accomplished during a time of uncertainty in our nation as the economy and world markets went into a deep recession. Some said it was going to be extremely tough to get this done. We have been told that before. When we announced we were going to double our enrollment by 2010, people doubted. They were wrong then, too. But guess what, we always march forward and seem to prove everyone wrong."

Chapman said the leadership over the past six years had been a true pillar of strength. He extended a special thanks to Kerry McQueen and John Tomlinson, recent past Board of Trustee chairs who helped outline and define the campaign. He also thanked all the members of the Board of Trustees who served during the effort, calling them an inspiration to work with.

Chapman introduced the current Board of Trustees chair, Tom Thomas, president of Commerce Bank in Hays. Thomas has been a board member for the past 13 years and served as chair the past two years. "Tom was also instrumental in my discussions to come back to Hays in 2006 to lead the Foundation, and he is a true friend," Chapman said.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend our congratulations to Dr. Hammond, Tim and the Foundation for the hard work, passion and effort of your teams in making this announcement possible," Thomas said. "The true success of Fort Hays State University and the partnership the university and Foundation provide to our community, western Kansas and beyond is a testament to the dedication of all. Congratulations on a great success."

Chapman also thanked Ed and Donna Stehno, chairs of the National Campaign. "Ed and Donna have spent the last 39 years in Hays, and they have been involved with FHSU every step of the way during that time," Chapman said. "We couldn't think of a better couple to carry the flag for this effort."

Over the nearly six years of the campaign, 66,000 gifts were received, including more than 340 major gifts, and every region of the country was touched. Stehno said he and his wife were excited about the success of the campaign.

"We were humbled to be asked to be the face of this vitally important effort," Stehno said. "When the economic conditions soured, we would be less than truthful to say we weren't concerned. That is what makes today so special. Fort Hays State friends and alumni stepped to the plate, buckled down, and went to work. We could not be any more proud."

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