Tech Tomorrow campaign tops $60 million goal

COOKEVILLE – University officials announced that more than $60 million has been raised during the Tech Tomorrow capital campaign, topping Tennessee Tech’s goal two years ahead of schedule. 

This is the largest amount raised in the history of the university, with more than 3,600 new donors to the institution, and comes on the heels of three consecutive record-setting fundraising years for Tech.

“This support from alumni and friends is greatly appreciated,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “So far, the campaign has raised more than $18 million for student scholarships. These funds will have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of Tech students.” 

As of June 30, $60.9 million was raised during the capital campaign, which began in 2016 and was originally scheduled to run through 2021. Tech Tomorrow was centered on the building of the Tennessee Tech of the future and had three focus areas: student scholarships, faculty support and facilities improvements. 

According to Kevin Braswell, vice president of University Advancement, meeting the campaign’s goal with two years left is a testimony to how much donors believe in the university and its mission.

“We are grateful to the donors who support Tennessee Tech and our students,” Braswell said. “Through their support, they have helped us to reach our goal ahead of schedule. We are already seeing the fruit of some of the notable impact gifts of the campaign.”

Campaign gifts having an immediate impact include the:

Eagle Assistance Grant, which grew out of the “I Heart Tech Students” faculty/staff giving campaign

Oakley Farm, a 1,400-acre farm in Overton County

Golden Eagle Golf Club, a 126-acre golf course in Cookeville  

Whitson-Hester School of Nursing Sim-Lab, where students learn and practice health care techniques on state-of-the-art, high-tech manikins 

Diversity Scholarship Initiative

The campaign will now formally end on Dec. 31, 2019, with an event in October to recognize generous donor support, celebrate campaign successes and highlight other key philanthropic priorities.

These include raising $8.25 million for the planned new engineering building, the first new engineering building at Tech since 1971; bolstering scholarship support, especially for women and minority students; and focusing on the university’s strategic planning initiatives, with emphasis on Rural Reimagined, Tech’s Grand Challenge to harness science, technology and innovation to transform rural living by addressing rural challenges.

“When we started the campaign, a new student-centered ‘smart’ building for engineering wasn’t yet realistic, nor did we have the Rural Reimagined Grand Challenge,” Braswell said. “By meeting our campaign goal early and remaining nimble as a university, we intend to energetically pursue these new opportunities, while continuing to raise funds for student scholarships.”

As of June 30, the campaign has received 36,000 gifts from 11,697 donors, 66% who are alumni.

Cash gifts account for 30% of total campaign giving ($18.3 million), with planned giving accounting for nearly 30% ($18.2 million).

During the campaign, fundraising for two of Tech’s colleges topped $10 million – the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, and the College of Engineering – while Athletics raised more than $7 million. 

Of the total $60.9 million raised, 97% is restricted for specific purposes. For example, if a donor specifies that funds can only be used for computer science scholarships, those funds are considered restricted and are not available to meet other university needs.

The campaign has seen the top three years in total university fundraising: $22.5 million in 2016, $13.4 million in 2017, and $12 million in 2018.

Looking at solely the 2019 fiscal year, 5,093 donors – 70% who are alumni – gave 7,343 gifts, totaling $7.3 million. 

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