February 2, 1998

Donations to VSU break $2 million mark for third straight year

Total private giving in 1997 continued to climb at Valdosta State University, topping the $2 million mark for the third consecutive year.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 1997, gifts to the university reached $2,040,800, according to Ray Devery, assistant to the president for institutional advancement, director of development and executive vice president of the VSU Foundation. That's up more than $34,000 from 1996's total of $2,006,009.

Subsequently, Annual Fund contributions were up as well�from $551,000 in 1996 to $579,627 in 1997.

Meanwhile, an estimated 650 first-time contributors were logged last year.

"I'm delighted with the fact that our donation base continues to grow," Devery said.

Faculty and staff giving also jumped in the fall of 1997 to $69,371�up from $65,000 in 1996�an increase of more than six percent. "We're extremely pleased with the increase in the faculty and staff giving for 1997," said Dr. George Gaumond, chair of the faculty and staff fund drive and director of VSU's Odum Library. "We hope, however, that next year, even a greater percentage of faculty and staff will consider supporting the university."

"We are delighted that, for the third year, private giving to Valdosta State University has exceeded $2 million," said Dr. Hugh C. Bailey, VSU president. "These gifts support activities and permit the initiation of new endeavors which would be impossible otherwise. They are a vital component in the development of a great regional university."

An even bigger donor base is a major goal in 1998, according to Jeff Snow, director of annual giving. A new, automated telephone calling system should help that goal, according to Snow. The computerized calling format allows student workers to call many more alumni, parents and friends than could be called previously.

Snow said last year's phon-a-thon reached about 10,000 constituents�he hopes that number will double with the new system, increasing the efficiency of the campaign.

"We should see a definite spike in the number of homes reached in 1998," Snow said.

Devery said one of the main factors contributing to the increased funding support is a growing public understanding of the rising costs of higher education. That growing need shows no signs of ending, he said.

"Valdosta State University is a leader in implementing increased enrollment standards, which makes essential the provisions for additional scholarships and grants," added Bailey. "The Foundation's role in providing these is one of its most outstanding contributions."

"It's very encouraging to receive such strong support as the university continues to expand its educational efforts," Devery said. "We feel especially gratified by this show of support as we look forward to an upcoming capital campaign."

"Valdosta State is an asset to this community and to this region," said Herm Manderson, chairman of the VSU Foundation. "An investment in this institution is an investment in educational excellence."

"Reaching these funding levels always requires a consistent team effort," said James Kunkle, president of the VSU Foundation. "This success demonstrates the concentrated commitment supporters of this university share."

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