University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
November 18, 2013
Contact: Bob Lowry, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6211

More than 55,000 gifts for 50th Anniversary Campaign

More than 55,000 gifts were made to the University of South Alabama during its three-year 50th Anniversary Campaign, representing widespread support for the University’s mission of teaching, research, public service and health care.

During the campaign, 4,123 donors were first-time givers to the University. In addition, an annual employee fundraising effort brought in a record $1.04 million in 2012.

“The 50th Anniversary Campaign was significant not only because of the amount of money raised, but also because of the number of people who stepped up in support of the University of South Alabama,” said Dr. John W. Smith, USA acting president.  “We could not be the University we are today, 50 years after our founding, without such strong and widespread support from our alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff.  A comprehensive teaching and research university requires private giving in addition to public dollars and we are honored that so many people share USA’s commitment.”

The 50th Anniversary Campaign began Oct. 1, 2010 and ended Sept. 30, 2013. The money raised will support all aspects of the University, including students and student scholarships, faculty, equipment and facilities, health care, academic programs, research, athletics and others.

Two groups of volunteers led the outreach effort among alumni and business leaders. The 50th Anniversary Annual Leadership Council, made up of 72 alumni, committed personal gifts and helped contact fellow alumni for support. The 50th Anniversary Business Leaders Circle, comprised of 50 Gulf Coast business leaders, gave to the campaign and encouraged other business leaders to do the same.

Through these two groups, along with the inauguration of a Jagline phone-a-thon and use of direct mail, the campaign’s outreach efforts were unprecedented.

The resulting 55,429 gifts exceeded the goal of 50,000 by more than 10 percent.

“The goals of the 50th Anniversary Campaign were to raise 50,000 charitable gifts and to position the University with the broadest possible base of support as it begins another half-century of service in south Alabama,” said Dr. Joseph Busta, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. “In attracting 55,000 gifts over the three-year period, the 50th Anniversary Campaign exceeded its goal and stirred an unprecedented response from alumni, employees and the business community.  Consequently, for the 2013 fiscal year, USA has recorded the second largest total of funds raised ever in its history, and the largest total ever outside of a comprehensive campaign.  At its 50-year mark, USA is a vibrant, well-supported institution ready to move boldly into the future.”

Ann Sirmon, president of the USA National Alumni Association and a 1987 graduate of the University, expressed pride at the outpouring of support from her fellow alumni.

“As this milestone year comes to an end, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the celebration through attendance at our many events, the generous gifts to the 50th Anniversary Annual Fund campaign and membership in the USA National Alumni Association,” she said. “I look forward to the future as we embark on the next 50-plus years!”

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