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Campaign for Appalachian ‘Ahead of Schedule’ – $141.7 Million Raised Already with Two and a Half Years to Go

By Paul T. Choate

A banner across the ASU skywalk reads "Making a difference in the world... One student at a time." It also includes the link to the Campaign for Appalachian website. Photo by Paul T. Choate

July 3, 2012. The seven-year “Campaign for Appalachian,” a campaign to raise $200 million for academics, arts and athletics at Appalachian State University, is currently ahead of schedule and may end up surpassing the fundraising goal by 2014.

The program began in July of 2007 as a way to “preserve and enhance the Appalachian Experience,” according to the Campaign for Appalachian website. Now, only five years in, 70.85 percent of the goal has already been raised.

“We’re actually ahead of schedule,” said Susan H. Pettyjohn, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “We’ve raised about $141.7 million as of [the morning of July 3, 2012]. We’ve got two and a half years to go so if things continue at this pace we’re hopeful that we will surpass the goal. We have been very successful.”

If the $200 million mark is achieved, the funds will be distributed as follows: $136.8 million to academics, $50 million to athletics and $13.2 million to arts.

Courtesy of the Campaign for Appalachian website

Where the money goes

• Scholarship support: $51 million
• Faculty support: $14.3 million
• Program support: $43.2 million
• Facility support: $22.3 million
• The Appalachian Fund: $6 million

• Scholarship support: $25 million
• Facility support: $25 million

• Program support: $13.2 million 

According to Pettyjohn, during 2007 when the campaign was still in the planning stages ASU hired Washburn & McGoldrick, a consulting firm based out of Latham, N.Y., to do a feasibility study on the appropriate amount to attempt to raise. 

“[Washburn & McGoldrick] interviewed about 50 individuals who are board members, donors [and] friends of the university. They tested the messages, the priorities, for what could be a campaign,” said Pettyjohn. “There’s a lot of data that goes into this process – looking at how much we’ve raised, what our database looks like, what our potential is and all that kind of stuff. They evaluated all of that and then after they had all of the interviews – asking people what they thought about the leadership here, how the felt about Appalachian and so forth – we had actually tested a $250 million campaign.

“We started the feasibility study in the fall of 2008 when the economy was just tanking, so there was not a lot of confidence then at that time about being able to raise $250 [million], but they did come back with the evaluation that we could do a $200 million campaign.”

Pettyjohn said that during the first few years of the fundraising effort the campaign was not ahead of schedule as it is currently, and that 2012 has been a very good year for them.

“This year we had some really amazing commitments. We’ve been in the process now of talking to people and the economy is turning around a little bit, so we’ve seen a lot of activity this year that has boosted our numbers,” said Pettyjohn.

The campaign does not ask for donations that are all lumped into one sum either. The Campaign for Appalachian website allows donors to give money to each individual college within the university, as well as offering direct donations to An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and Appalachian Athletics.

Donations for program support for specific colleges are “the largest piece of the pie right now,” according to Pettyjohn. She also added that scholarship support was probably second and that “those two pieces are probably the largest and the ones we’ve had the most success with.”

According to Tracey C. Ford, executive director to the vice chancellor for University Advancement, there is not a specific set date for when the campaign will end. She said it would be sometime in 2014 but that was the only thing set in stone. She also added that there would probably be some kind of “finale” for the campaign.

To promote the campaign, ASU is mainly relying on the stories of students and alumni who have benefitted from the fundraising. On the Campaign for Appalachian website there are several testimonials in a section called “Making a difference.”

“What we’re trying to do is really tell the impact of the campaign by telling the stories of our students and our alumni, and the success that they have had since they have graduated,” said Pettyjohn.

How to give

The campaign offers several ways to donate. Donors can use a credit or debit card on their website. They can also send a check payable to Appalachian State Foundation, Inc. to Advancement Services, Appalachian State University, ASU P.O. Box 32014, Boone, NC 28608. A third way to donate is via phone by calling 828-262-2090. Finally, you can even text a $10 donation by texting “APPSTATE” to 50555.

For more information on the Campaign for Appalachian, visit campaign.appstate.edu or call 828-262-2207.