January 27, 1999

Donations to VSU surpass $3.2 million

Total private support of Valdosta State University continued to climb in 1998, surpassing $3.2 million.

This tops the $2 million mark reached for 1997, according to Ray Devery, vice president for Institutional Advancement, director of development and executive vice president of the VSU Foundation, Inc. The $3.2 million of support will help the university continue to meet its academic and institutional objectives.

Private support encompasses gifts of property, cash, stocks and other assets.

"It's clear that alumni and friends of the university have become more aware of university needs, and the many avenues of giving," Devery said.

"It is gratifying that the university has informed, altruistic friends who realize that its future is directly related to their support," said Dr. Hugh C. Bailey, VSU president. "We are a state-assisted institution and much of our progress continues to depend upon the generosity of private contributors."

Within the $3.2 million total, approximately $571,000 was raised through the Annual Fund, said Jeff Snow, director of the Annual Fund. New, computerized phon-a-thon equipment helped that program contact nearly 14,000 of the university's alumni and friends.

Meanwhile, VSU faculty and staff are monetarily supporting university programs at record levels, Snow said. The recent Faculty and Staff Campaign's participation rate jumped to 46 percent-an increase from 18 percent the previous year, Snow said. That success earned the Office of Annual Giving and the Foundation an award of excellence in the 1999 CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) competition.

Two major gifts helped to push the private support total past $3.2 million, officials said. The largest capital gift ever received by the Valdosta State Foundation-the former Holiday Markets Building on North Ashley Street-was announced in March 1998, and valued at more than $1.5 million. That gift was contributed by Johnny V. McCranie, a Valdosta businessman. Additionally, the largest capital gift ever made to the VSU sports program was announced earlier this month when the Athletics Department received a property gift valued at $465,600 from Drs. Richard and William Nijem. The gift was made in memory of their parents, Fred and Josephine Nijem. The property involved includes the office building at 1700 North Patterson St. where the Nijems operate their cardiology practice as well as houses at 102 and 104 West Moore St.

"Not only did the Foundation Board of Trustees continue its 100 percent support in 1998, but our many volunteers on and off campus did an outstanding job of rallying support," Devery said. "This level of success is indeed rewarding as the university approaches a major capital campaign."

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