Ferris State’s fundraising campaign passes $115M goal

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David Eisler. Courtesy Ferris State

Ferris State University raised $117.2 million, exceeding its $115 million fundraising campaign goal seven months ahead of schedule.

The Big Rapids-based university with a campus in Grand Rapids announced its Now and Always Comprehensive Campaign in 2017 with an $80 million goal it planned to reach by June 30, 2019. After meeting the goal nearly a year early in 2018, the campaign cabinet increased the goal to $115 million and extended the timeframe through June 30, 2022.

At the 23rd annual Ferris Foundation Benefit on Friday, Oct. 29, at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, the university announced it surpassed its latest goal thanks to a surprise planned $5 million gift from campaign co-chair Jeff Rowe’s former business partner, longtime friend and fellow Ferris State School of Pharmacy alumnus Phil Hagerman.

The campaign has now raised $117.2 million, but Ferris President David Eisler said the campaign will continue through June 30 to raise additional funds for endowed student scholarships, program innovation and expansion, and partnerships.

“I am thrilled and humbled by the tremendous generosity of Phil and all of our 22,000 campaign donors who have given generously to student scholarships, facilities, academic programs, athletics and so much more,” Eisler said.

“This is a campaign about our people. It has succeeded in building a culture of engagement and philanthropy among our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, friends and volunteers. It has allowed everyone to think and dream big about making a difference in the lives of our students and university.”

Fundraising priorities through the end of the campaign include:

  • $25 million for phase two of Pharmacy Forward, focusing on renovating and expanding laboratories; creating interprofessional clinical spaces; establishing a College of Pharmacy Innovation Fund for scholarship, research, development and discovery and expanding partnerships; and creating new annual and endowed scholarships for pharmacy students
  • $18.5 million for the Jim Crow Museum, Archive and Education Center that will improve the museum’s capacity to expand and properly store its collection of artifacts documenting the characterization of African Americans during the Jim Crow era and will help make the museum’s resources available to the world through online access
  • $7.375 million for the $32 million Center for Virtual Learning
  • $500,000 for the major renovation and expansion of the Ewigleben Sports Complex that includes a new arena for the volleyball program and a Center for Athletics Performance for nearly 400 student-athletes involved in 17 varsity programs

Campaign fundraising goals completed to date:

  • Hagerman Pharmacy building renovations to the college’s main teaching areas, including an interprofessional simulation suite, a 140-seat active learning classroom, the Rowe Pharmacy Care Clinic and a 40-person patient interaction lab
  • Swan Annex expansion and renovation to support growth for the College of Engineering Technology’s welding, engineering and manufacturing programs
  • Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center indoor training facility for PGA golf management program students and home to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame
  • Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan training facility for road-building professionals and students

Philanthropic support also has enabled the university to expand its educational outreach in Grand Rapids through a partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools to deliver programs and services at GRPS’ Southwest Community Campus Middle/High School in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

The campaign also created enhanced opportunities to serve the Latino and Asian communities of West Michigan through college-readiness summer programs including Advancemos and Promesa for middle and high school students and Ferris’ Latino Business and Economic Development Center serving up-and-coming community and business leaders through LEADeres.

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