The Spartan Podcast

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by Hannah Watts

Michigan State University has launched “Empower Extraordinary – The Campaign for Michigan State University” fundraising effort, and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon discusses the details with Russ White.

With an approved goal of more than $1.5 billion, the university is focused on making big leaps, says President Simon.

“The real purpose of the campaign is to make Michigan State University a better place,” Simon says. “A place that is returning on the investment people have made in it, whether a student, faculty member, alumni or Michigan resident.”

There are four central themes of the campaign: Engine of opportunity; Force for creativity, discovery and learning; Tackling global challenges; and Building a vibrant and dynamic community.

“It’s not about fixing roofs and filling in holes,” she says. “It’s about the big leaps that institutions must make to be world competitive. It’s about talent attraction and retention and having the dollars to offer fellowships and scholarships.”

Michigan State University ranks somewhat low among its Big Ten peers in terms of endowed positions and scholarship availability. MSU seeks to establish 100 new endowed chair and professorships and fund important academic programs to help retain and attract great thinkers to its campus.

“The university needs resources on a sustained, continuing basis,” Simon explains. “Private dollars help us to achieve a level of extraordinary that isn’t necessarily envisioned today because endowments last forever; they’re not just about today.”

The success of the campaign depends on the time, talent and treasure of the Spartan community, and Simon calls on Spartans everywhere to give back to the university in hopes of continuing a legacy of excellence.

“The value of degrees appreciates, even for senior alums, and the value of the work the university does locally, nationally and globally increases, too. If we all focus on working everyday to make sure that the value of our work improves over time, every Spartan wins. We have to make sure Michigan State University is better tomorrow than it is today.”

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