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10 April 2006

JSU Picks up $7 Million,
Exceeds Campaign's Working Goal

Jacksonville State University picked up an additional $7 million in pledges during a Saturday gala held in appreciation of supporters who have given during the leadership phase of JSU's $17.5 million campaign, putting the fund-raising total at more than $22 million in less than half the allotted time.

Abernathy Trust of Anniston pledged $5 million and an anonymous donor pledged $2 million during the gala.

University President William A. Meehan said Monday that the campaign's success indicates "JSU is on target with the vision and goals that alumni, friends, and the public will support.

"The university has set its sights on being the best, and that's where our supporters want to take us. They are enthusiastic in backing our vision of what JSU can become."

Bob Kennamer of Anniston, campaign co-chairman, gave the approximately 250 guests his personal reason for supporting JSU: "People give money for all kinds of strange reasons—some because they think it will get them to heaven, others for bragging rights. . . . However, the only reason I am involved in the Jacksonville State University capital campaign is because I love this institution."

Kennamer called on supporters to join him in backing the campaign even though they may not be interested in specific projects that would be bolstered by the campaign.

"Those of you who have children and grandchildren know what I mean when I say specific causes don't matter that much. Perhaps you’re not that crazy about baseball, but because you love your son or grandson, you support baseball or that other particular cause. Those of us who love JSU naturally support JSU’s many causes, even if they’re no longer exciting or relevant at our particular stage in life," he said.

Clarence Daugette, III, of Gadsden, president of JSU's International Endowment Foundation, described his family's long association with the university throughout its history and spoke of the benefits of finding quality education locally. He said, "It's not where you go to school, it's what you do with the degree."

JSU raised more than $15 million during the campaign's "silent" phase, which is a tradition in fund-raising in which institutions do not go public in the campaign's infancy until they have established internal support and established momentum. Information provided at the by-invitation-only event showed prospective donors how they can match personal areas of interest with institutional needs in order to complete the campaign, which is titled "The Power of 125...Join the Celebration."

An outpouring of support from employees, alumni, corporations, and community leaders in the previous 27 months quickly solidified portions of the university's master plan and gave partial backing for a detailed list of other academic and institutional goals.

The campaign, which began in January 2004 and was projected to end in 2008 during the university's 125th anniversary celebration, supports projects including a new performing arts center, a classroom building, improvements to athletics facilities, scholarships, endowed chairs and professorships, and centers of excellence.

Now that the campaign has exceeded its working goal so soon, will President Meehan increase the goal?

"JSU has many needs, and not all of them were covered by our campaign. In the coming days, the JSU Foundation, Inc., and the JSU Board of Trustees will assess where we are and what's left to be done, and we will announce a decision that's right for the university," he said.

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