Wayne State University launches Pivotal Moments campaign to raise $750 million

DETROIT - Wayne State University has announced the public launch of a university-wide fundraising campaign to raise $750 million. Pivotal Moments: Our Campaign for Wayne State University is Wayne State's second comprehensive campaign in its 150-year history and its most significant to date.

"We have an ambitious vision to become a preeminent, public urban research university, and it only stands to reason that we need an equally ambitious campaign to achieve that vision," said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. "Our alumni and friends, as well as our foundation and corporate supporters, are passionate and dedicated, and I know we can work together to create an even stronger, brighter future for our university, city, state and world."

Each of Wayne State's 13 schools and colleges will be part of the Pivotal Moments campaign, in addition to the University Press, the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, the Institute of Gerontology, Athletics and WDET. Together, these areas will be raising funds for the university's campaign priorities to:

• Inspire our students and faculty to be curious and passionate
• Discover new approaches, solutions and areas of inquiry through multidisciplinary, translational and applied research
• Create fresh expressions of existing knowledge
• Engage through community service, enriching the culture and economy of Detroit and beyond

"Our priorities are broad in scope because Wayne State is broad in its reach," said President Wilson. "The university's impact is significant, far-reaching and comprehensive, and our campaign priorities must be as well."

Of all the university's priorities, Inspire is the most significant because of its focus on students, with a goal to provide support for endowed scholarships, internships, study abroad and success programs. The Inspire priority represents the largest percentage of the overall campaign goal at $275 million.

"Our students are hardworking and tenacious, and they are our highest priority," said Chacona W. Johnson, vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs. "Our university is literally educating our future, and we must ensure we are doing so in a way that best prepares our graduates to be successful in an increasingly global and competitive society. Donor support can help enhance the student experience and provide funding for endowed scholarships, as well as programs and initiatives not typically covered by tuition."

As state support now provides funding for less than one-third of Wayne State's operations, philanthropy has become even more important to the university's mission.

To help ensure the university's future, the campaign also will focus on growing the university endowment. Wayne State has set a goal for one-quarter of the campaign total to ensure permanent endowment funding, with the primary focus of new endowment resources to support students and faculty. The focus of endowment funding for faculty will include endowed positions, such as chairs and professorships, which are essential to helping to recruit and retain top faculty.

Wayne State has raised $357.2 million during the silent phase of the campaign, which began in 2009. As part of this total, the university has received significant gifts, including a recent commitment of $8.5 million from Michael and Marion Ilitch to name the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine and establish an endowed chair in surgical innovation.

The university also has received and values gifts at all levels. During the silent phase, more than 300,000 gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and foundations have helped support Wayne State. Nearly 80 percent of those gifts have been for $1,000 or less.

"Wayne State has a tradition of being a place where people from all different backgrounds come together to work toward common goals of outstanding higher education, groundbreaking research and community engagement," said Debbie Dingell, chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. "The gifts we have received so far, from alumni and friends and community supporters, reflect that sense of community and dedication to create an even stronger Wayne State University in a revitalized Detroit."

An event to celebrate the launch of Pivotal Moments: Our Campaign for Wayne State University will take place on Oct. 9, with Showcases across campus from 1 to 3 p.m., and The Premiere at the Hilberry Theatre at 4 p.m. to mark the official launch of the campaign.

All of the events on Oct. 9 will celebrate the pivotal moments that have defined the university's history and will shape its future.

For more information about the campaign and launch activities, visit pivotalmoments.wayne.edu. Visit the Flickr photo gallery to view campaign images.

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