This weekend, Susquehanna University announced the public phase of our Give Rise capital campaign.
After years of careful planning and “quiet” fundraising, we announced that we have already raised $140,529,670 toward a goal of $160 million. That goal is more than twice what has been raised in any previous campaign, and going public with nearly 88% of that goal completed is a testament to the hard work of my colleagues and an affirmation of the commitment alumni and friends of the university have for this great university.
Susquehanna University is truly a manifestation of philanthropy, which comes from the Greek, meaning “love of man.” It is gifts for the betterment of others. Each year, we welcome hundreds of talented young people to our campus (itself a gift) who are able to be here because of the generosity of strangers.
Our students come here to figure out who they are and how they make our world better. As a university, we make good citizens and good neighbors who give back to their communities many times what we have invested in them. Much of our campaign’s success is a reflection of their gratitude for what a Susquehanna education has made possible in their lives.
I can think of no better investment in our collective future. As I said to a gathering of over 500 supporters of Susquehanna at the launch:
I have the best job in the world. I am surrounded by brilliant faculty and talented staff who share a passionate commitment to our wonderful students.
Every day, Lynn and I witness the life-changing things that happen on this campus. Students are truly transformed here. Their seemingly unattainable dreams become reality because of what our collective philanthropy makes possible.
Susquehanna was founded as a gift. Local farmers and business people in Selinsgrove gave land and funds to create this place because they believed in Benjamin Kurtz’s dream that talented young people should have access to higher education no matter what their families’ station in life might be. Those first donors wanted to support those students, and they wanted their own children to join them, and so began our first tradition.
The New York Times ranked Susquehanna as having the 9th most economically diverse student body in the nation. We are not an institution of students born on third base, Susquehanna is a living and learning community representing the breadth of socio-economic backgrounds and experiences, and yet, according to a recent Georgetown University study, the average lifetime earnings of our graduates is among the top 8% of all colleges and universities in the U.S.
This is why Lynn and I have made Susquehanna our primary philanthropy and why SU is the largest beneficiary of our estate planning. We know first-hand what supporting this university makes possible. It is so rewarding to us see our gifts changing lives every day, and we are so grateful that so many of you join us in that philanthropic vision.
As part of our celebration, we unveiled a new campaign video featuring our students, faculty, and staff that will give you a glimpse of what wonderful things they are doing on campus, and quite literally around the world.
Knowing what philanthropy at Susquehanna has done and will continue to do for the betterment of our world for generations to come makes supporting this campaign immensely satisfying and abundantly consequential.