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Campaign for Appalachian Reaches $150 Million Mark During December App State Board of Trustees Meeting

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

Dec. 14, 2012. The seven-year “Campaign for Appalachian,” a campaign to raise $200 million for academics, arts and athletics at Appalachian State University, passed the $150 million mark on Friday, Dec. 14, and may end up reaching the goal amount well before the set 2014 end of the campaign.

At the December ASU Board of Trustees meeting, Susan H. Pettyjohn, vice chancellor for University Advancement, gave a surprise announcement she didn’t realize she would be giving until receiving notifications on her cell phone during the meeting.

“I even have more of an update since our meeting in the past 30 minutes,” said Pettyjohn. “As of early this week we had reached $149.2 million toward our campaign. Earlier this week when I saw that I challenged my staff to get to $150 million by the end of this year. In the past 30 minutes we have surpassed that.”

Pettyjohn said she received notice of three new gifts to the campaign, a $25,000 gift to sustainable development scholarships, a $60,000 gift to Hayes School of Music Cannon Music Camp and a $1 million commitment to the Reich College of Education. 

Even better news for the campaign is how much of this money has already come in. 

“Over half of this money has already come in,” she said. “Almost $86 million is actually in hand and at work at the university. That’s a great sign for the campaign to have most of your money already in hand and a good portion of it coming down the road.”

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 in July. “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.”

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.

Tracey C. Ford, executive director to the vice chancellor for University Advancement, told High Country Press in July that there is not a specific set date for when the campaign will end. She said it was expected to 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 benefited 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,” Pettyjohn said of the testimonials.

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.