After months of anticipation and social media coverage, Missouri State University revealed on Saturday night at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts what “It’s On!” is all about.
The university unveiled “Onward, Upward,” a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $250 million dollars. The money raised will go toward scholarships, building renovations, faculty positions, resource allowances and program support, such as athletics.
Specific changes mentioned were three new buildings for the Darr College of Agriculture, construction of a permanent Tent Theatre structure and renovation of the Professional Building.
The announcement was kept such a secret that even promoters for MSU weren’t told anything concerning the event.
Katie Kubiak, junior nursing major and cheerleader, said they were only informed of their duties for the event.
“We got no information on this event,” Kubiak said. “We only knew what time to be here and they told us to walk around and get everyone excited.”
For the last two years, the campaign was private and earned a little over $150 million from nearly 50,000 donors. In that time, 222 new scholarships were made, bringing the number of scholarships offered through MSU’s foundation to 1,381 scholarships. Cumulatively, those scholarships have offered $2.4 million in financial support.
The big news was announced by campaign chair and MSU alumnus, John Goodman, President Clif Smart and Missouri State Foundation Executive Director Brent Dunn.
When Goodman discussed why he took the role of campaign chair, he spoke of his fondness for MSU.
“I stay connected to Missouri State because it’s one of my blessings,” Goodman said. “It’s great when I come back and discover campus all over again. I just love it here. It’s such a great place. It really is. I owe this school so very much.”
Leading up to the event, there was much speculation about what the “transformational” announcement would be. When asked, common answers from students were John Q. Hammons Arena being renamed or the creation of a new building.
Matthew Kiewiet, senior theatre education major, foresaw the event would involve a fundraiser.
“This is a glorified fundraiser to get money for the university,” Kiewiet said. “I believe it is a little overhyped.”
Allison Livorsi, senior elementary education major, one of the students who thought JQH Arena was being renamed, was just excited to see what the night held.
“I’m excited for John Goodman,” Livorsi said. “I’m excited to see all the people there and it will be an exciting atmosphere. I’m also excited for the fireworks, AKA ‘explosives,’ in the parking lot.”
Following the announcement, MSU celebrated by hosting a food truck festival and fireworks show on campus.
On the event page for “It’s On!” there were 13 confirmed food truck vendors, ranging from Tex-Mex to Italian.
One of the food trucks in attendance was Davalon, a Hibachi style food truck, who had heard about the event from one of the other vendors.
“This is our first year coming to this campus,” Owner of Davalon Cody Davis said. “Basically, all of us food trucks talk and we learned of a really good event after getting ahold of them. All we do is travel for big events.”
Despite all the festivities, students had mixed feelings about the announcement.
Cameron Brown, sophomore psychology major, felt like he had been misled about the nature of the announcement.
“I think the event could have been advertised differently,” Brown said.
Mia Sethi, senior economics major, also felt that the event could have been advertised differently, but was still excited to see what the future held.
“I enjoy the faculty support and scholarships, but I think students expected differently,” Sethi said. “What they are aiming towards is cool and I’d like to get a more detailed list of it.”
According to Sethi, she felt the whole thing was more emotionally driven than fact-based. And she also acknowledges that, while this is good news, it won’t impact her directly since it will be implemented past her time.
Despite the lack of information, students found the event to be a worthwhile experience.
“When I walked out of the [theater] I heard a guy saying that this is probably the biggest time he’d felt like an actual Bear, like he belonged in this school,” Freshman cell and molecular biology major Kayla Kline said.
The event ended with a fireworks display choreographed to the MSU fight song and then a montage of Queen songs.