After a quiet phase lasting six years, Weber State University has publicly announced its Dream 125 Campaign, with a goal of raising $125 million for the university by June 2016.
The WSU Developmental Office has already done much of the legwork by already raising $101,096,976 to date, meaning WSU has to raise about $24 million in two years.
The announcement corresponding with WSU’s 125th anniversary was “partly coincidence,” said WSU President Chuck Wight, although the release date had been planned for at least a year.
The Dream 125 money will benefit the university in three primary areas, according to Wight. These include providing opportunities and scholarships for students; advancing knowledge through endowed programs; and enhancing campus with new and modernized facilities and technology.
The scholarships will include merit-based scholarships in particular programs and colleges, and also the Dream Weber Scholarship, which provides free tuition and general student fees to students whose annual household income is $40,000 or less.
“We’ve really expanded the eligibility for this scholarship,” said Wight, noting that the Dream Weber Scholarship has come a long way since its establishment in 2010. Previous to Wight’s inaugural announcement, the scholarship only covered students with an annual household income of less than $27,000.
As of last summer, WSU has had 1,358 eligible students for the Dream Weber Scholarship. Of those students, 252 have received their bachelor’s degrees, and 400 have received their associate’s degrees.
Brad Mortensen, vice president for University Advancement, is working with alumni and previous donors to help raise money for the campaign.
“With $101 million raised, we really are fortunate to have a lot of people out there, 10,690 to be exact, who have given to the university, and we feel optimistic that we can raise the full goal of $125 million,” Mortensen said.
On the Dream 125 website, campaign progress is measured by gifts and pledges in the thousands given to specific majors and programs at WSU. The College of Arts and Humanities has had the most money pledged, with a total of $11,643.40 since Dec. 31, 2013. The athletics and science programs are close runners-up, their donations reaching within $8,000.
The Alumni Center employs students to call upon donors and alumni for general fundraising, but Mortensen said students could be involved by talking with donors to “show off what they are doing.”
Mortensen gave the example of Sid Foulger, and the Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music. “Before he decided to do that, he met with a couple of our faculty and three students, so we do involve students directly with donors.”
Wight also said that students could help raise money for the university by making phone calls to alumni and asking for donations.
“When I get phone calls from the University of Virginia, where I graduated, it’s almost always from a student,” he said, “because students are important and are generally more successful in engaging donors.”
Mortensen also encouraged current students to “pay it forward” by giving to the campaign, because it will directly benefit students.
Carol Biddle, who works in the WSU Development Office, said she encourages current students to give to Dream 125.
“Students are the primary beneficiaries of everything that we do to raise funds for the university, so student involvement is very important.”