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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State Mankato announces its biggest campaign

At $75 million, system's largest

University announces its largest comprehensive campaign ever.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office news release [10/27/2011]

Minnesota State University, Mankato today announced the largest comprehensive campaign in the history of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system.

The $75 million Big Ideas Campaign is intended to generate donations that will significantly expand student scholarship programs, create more student-faculty research opportunities, and develop more high-tech classroom and collaborative study spaces.

“The Big Ideas Campaign will transform Minnesota State Mankato,” said President Richard Davenport. “We’ve already started this journey by deploying a new strategic plan that will break down the barriers, create solutions and achieve a new level of greatness.”

The campaign will fund university-wide giving partnerships, including new Global Solutions Scholarships for incoming and current students, and new Global Solutions Grants for faculty and staff. It also will fund transformational change within the university’s six academic colleges and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Our new Global Solutions scholarships and grants will provide seed money for members of our campus community to transform their big ideas into reality,” Davenport said.

One Big Ideas Campaign opportunity is a new College of Business Global Solutions Center. The center, to be housed in a new wing of Morris Hall, will provide space for cross-disciplinary research teams of faculty, staff and students who will examine solutions to global problems such as water quality, energy consumption and health care.

The campaign also seeks to create a Purple-and-Gold-Into-Green Fund that will encourage research into new sustainable living products and procedures.

“We want to leave an even wider mark on the world by pooling our talent to solve the world’s most challenging problems,” Davenport said. “But we can’t do it without you. Your partnership will help turn incremental change into transformation.”

Doug Mayo, vice president for University Advancement at Minnesota State Mankato, said the campaign seeks “to dramatically increase our capacity to serve students and have a positive impact on the world around us.” Fundraising will focus on five areas: Scholarships, technology, global partnerships and study abroad, an environmentally sustainable campus, and research support.

Randy Zellmer, longtime Minnesota State Mankato supporter and Foundation Board president, pointed out that “Minnesota State Mankato has come such a long way from its beginning in 1868 with 27 students who wanted to become teachers.” He said the campaign poises the institution “to take a transformational step that will integrate Minnesota State Mankato even more with the wider world and its challenges.”

The campaign already has raised $57 million, or 76 percent of the goal. Hundreds of donations for dozens of programs have been made since the campaign started in 2006, including:

  • The Nadine B. Andreas Endowment in Arts and Humanities, established in 2007 by the Andreas family. The Andreas Endowment brings big-name artists and thought leaders to campus for tranformational learning experiences.
  • The Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society, the Becky Taylor Doctoral Fellowship in Nursing and The Glen Taylor Family and Society Endowed Nursing Faculty Chair, established in 2009 by alumnus Glen and Becky Taylor. The Glen Taylor Institute, Becky Taylor Fellowships and Taylor Family Endowed Chair seek to dramatically change the family nursing experience for Minnesotans, the nation and the world.
  • Startup funding for the College of Business Global Solutions Center in 2009, from Al Lenzmeier. When fully funded, the new center will let students and faculty collaborate across disciplines to provide real-world solutions for global problems.
  • The Warner A. Zeno Family Fund Endowment, established in 2009 by the Warner A. Zeno estate to support lifelong Mankato residents in their quest for a Minnesota State Mankato degree.
  • Support for the Business Excellence fund in 2010 from alumnus Rod Schmidt.
  • Support for the Automotive Engineering Technology fund in 2010 from California Analytical Instruments and Environmental Testing Corporation.

But Advancement Vice President Mayo pointed out that, in spite of the exceptional start, more donations are needed to meet the Big Ideas Campaign goal.

“Friends of the university have given very generously since the campaign began,” Mayo said. “But the university cannot achieve new levels of positive impact, leadership and overall excellence unless everyone joins us – alumni, faculty, staff, students, community members and friends. We value and encourage every gift.”

The university expects to complete the campaign by June 30, 2013.

More information about Minnesota State Mankato’s Big Ideas Campaign is at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,649 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.

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