Higher education

Iowa State announces largest-ever fundraising campaign

University is already halfway to $1.1 billion goal

Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Iowa State University President Steven Leath has announced a historic campaign to raise $1.1 billion by June 30, 2020 — the most ambitious fundraising goal in the university’s history.

ISU’s campaign, called “Forever True, For Iowa State,” comes just as the University of Iowa’s $1.7 billion capital campaign, called “For Iowa. Forever more,” nears its end.

The UI campaign, which also was its largest-ever, began in 2008 and is expected to continue through December — although it surpassed the goal in March and now sits at $95 million over the mark.

That campaign started quietly and had raised $1.025 billion toward its goal before the UI Foundation in 2013 publicly announced the effort.

ISU also launched a quiet phase of its current campaign, and has raised more than $551 million since 2012 so far, according to ISU Foundation President Larissa Holtmyer Jones. That includes $204 million raised through a “Moving Students Forward” initiative launched by Leath in 2012 for scholarships and other forms of student support.

More than 23,000 students have received aid of some kind through that effort.

The campaign’s quiet phase also created 35 new faculty positions and supported, in part, the Marston Hall renovation and the addition of the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium.

The goal of the ISU campaign is to “help achieve the university’s vision to lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology, and human creativity to work,” according to a news release.


“One of Iowa State’s greatest resources is its family of loyal alumni and friends,” Leath said late Friday night when he took the campaign public during an event at Hilton Coliseum.

“This degree of loyalty is why the name of this campaign feels so appropriate,” he said. “Our alumni remain forever true to this university — as Iowa State remains forever true to the principles of innovation, diversity and accessibility on which it was founded.”

Officials said the campaign name was inspired by the ISU fight song in its hope to rally support for student scholarships, faculty support, facilities and programs. Its success will help ensure access to an ISU education and advance the university’s expertise in areas that address “global challenges, and enhance the university’s impact on the economy and quality of life in Iowa and around the world.”

“I invite everyone whose lives have been touched by Iowa State to consider what it means to be forever true to this university,” 1975 ISU graduate Jon Fleming, who is serving as campaign chair, said in a statement. “With the help of our extended Iowa State family, I know we can make this the most transformative campaign in Cyclone history.”

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