STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Mississippi State University is raising the goal of its current fundraising drive to $1 billion by 2020.
The university started seeking donations for the "Infinite Impact" campaign in 2010, publicly announced it in 2013, and has now reached the original $600 million goal that was initially targeted for 2018. President Mark Keenum announced the new goal Thursday.
"Now it's time to raise the bar even further in our journey to become one of the nation's leading research universities," Keenum said in a statement.
Vice President of Development and Alumni John Rush says the campaign is helping the school recruit higher-performing students and faculty. He said university officials decided to continue because it's a good way to entice people to give money for the first time, hopefully converting them to lifetime donors.
"You've got great excitement, you've got great things going on and you want to keep that going," Rush said, saying some other universities are stretching out capital campaigns to 10 years long, as MSU's would be, to reach a $1 billion goal.
So far, donors have funded an additional 400 endowed scholarships across the 21,000-student university, boosting the total to 1,450. Donors have also doubled the number of endowed faculty positions to 79. MSU has also used $78 million in donations to pay for campus construction and equipment.
Among the largest donors to the campaign so far are Texas residents Tommy and Terri Nusz, who announced in 2013 that they were giving $12.3 million to MSU to support engineering, military veteran programs, veterinary medicine, sports and teacher preparation.