With the marching band providing a festive musical backdrop and students holding flip cards with eight figures preceded by a dollar sign, Northern Michigan University officials revealed the $25 million fundraising goal for its “Campaign for the Students of Northern Michigan University.” The goal was announced at a gala Saturday night in Reynolds Recital Hall.
Martha Haynes, vice president for advancement, told attendees that private support plays an increasingly important role in maintaining access to excellent and affordable higher education.
“We have faced a great deal of economic turbulence and uncertainty along the way, but all the while you have remained undaunted and unwavering in your commitment to our students,” Haynes said. “And this campaign is all about the students. It’s about creating access and opportunity and recognizing and rewarding excellence. It’s about investing in potential and helping students discover the leader within. It’s about unleashing strength of mind and character in ways unique to NMU.”
The quiet phase of the campaign was launched seven years ago. More than 90 percent of the goal has been raised. Saturday’s celebration marked the kickoff of the public phase, which runs through June 30, 2014. At the event, students took the podium during breaks in a pre-recorded video to share personal stories of how private giving has contributed to their success.
“When I received my scholarship, I knew things would be a bit easier in my final year,” said Emily Champion, a senior speech pathology major from Marquette. “You are all a part of that village by investing in students of NMU. You’ve made a downpayment on someone’s dream. You’ve made it a possibility. That’s all students want is possibility.”
Andrea Savord, a graduate student in psychology from Powers, said, “I would not be where I am with this project today without that support. It was exactly what I needed to jump-start my research. I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity. Financial contributions offer much more than monetary stability. They offer the possibility to pursue our passions.”
NMU President David Haynes closed the program by reiterating a theme he expressed at his fall convocation: NMU is a smart investment.
“As we enter this final drive toward realizing the campaign goal, I would like to thank all of you. With your help, NMU can continue to offer unique academic opportunities, an unparalleled student experience and higher education that is both affordable and a great value.”