Fort Hays State University and the FHSU Foundation announced today that their five-year capital campaign has raised $88 million toward its $100 million goal to support scholarships, academics, student life and athletics.
Student Government Association President Brad DeMers, a junior political science major from Osceola, Neb., was on hand to testify to the benefit of the scholarship pillar of the campaign.
“FHSU offered me a scholarship, and that was the deciding factor for me,” he said. “I am honored to be up here today speaking on behalf of all FHSU students on the magnitude of our Journey campaign.”
“Today is a big day and I want to thank all of the generous donors and the Fort Hays State Foundation for making the Journey campaign possible. To announce that the campaign is ahead of schedule just proves the dedication our friends, family, alumni and supporters have to this great institution. It’s like no other place,” said DeMers.
DeMers shares the story of his journey to FHSU, and why he ultimately chose to become a Tiger, in this video available on Youtube: https://bit.ly/30s6P1z.
“The Journey campaign is the largest, most aggressive campaign in school history,” said Jason Williby, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, at a news conference in the university’s Memorial Union to announce the progress of the campaign.
“We kicked off the campaign in the fall of 2016 with a goal of raising $100 million in support of scholarships, academics, student life and athletics. We are grateful and humbled to have already raised $88 million toward this effort.”
The campaign’s status was announced by alumnus Steve Shields, entrepreneur, Journey campaign co-chair and a trustee of the FHSU Foundation.
“I get the good job,” he said. “I get to announce how well we’re doing. I’m really pleased to announce that we’re not only on schedule, we’re ahead of schedule. As of June 30, we have raised $88 million.”
Shields also shared the story of his goddaughter Lydia, who is a freshman this year on a track scholarship. He said he did not influence her in any way, but asked her why she chose FHSU.
“And she said well, she got a track scholarship,” said Shields. “And that was good. That helped. But then she said, ‘You know, the coaches were so personal, so interested in me and they’re interested in more than just how I do in track. I could feel they were interested in being who I wanted to be.”
She also told Shields that the campus is so beautiful, “and it’s growing.” Then, Shields said, she told him, “So if there’s growth with the university, there’s going to be growth opportunities for me.”
That is also why, Shields said, that he is a member of FHSU’s Wooster Society, whose members have arranged planned gifts, including estate gifts, to the FHSU Foundation.
“Eighty-eight down, 12 to go,” he said. “This is a great university to invest in, and a great university to remember in your estate plans. Fort Hays State University is generously remembered in my estate plans, and I invite you to join me in including FHSU in yours.”
FHSU President Tisa Mason concluded the news conference by thanking the many donors who have contributed to the Journey campaign.
“I am proud to share that our donors have made the dream of a college education an affordable reality for more of our students,” she said. “To date, your participation in the Journey Campaign allowed us to offer more than $13.8 million in student scholarships.”
“You have probably heard me or Jason say many times, ‘All gifts, large and small matter,’ and I am elated to report that of the 58,000 total campaign gifts we have received to date, nearly 22,000 – more than a third – are gifts under $100. Every gift matters.”
For more information on the Journey campaign and the FHSU Foundation, visit https://foundation.fhsu.edu/journey or contact the Fort Hays State Foundation by phone at 785-628-5620 or via email to [email protected].