During homecoming, Missouri State University held the “It’s On!” event. Hosted by the MSU Foundation, the reception had students filling Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.
The main speaker of the event — MSU alumni John Goodman — revealed MSU’s “Onward, Upward” campaign, a $250 million fundraiser for the university.
Vice President of the University Brent Dunn said all 2,200 seats in the theater were filled, and 2,500 more students were waiting outside to hear what Goodman would announce. Some managed to make it into the lobby to watch the release on closed-circuit TVs, but according to Dunn “a couple thousand” students did not manage to make it inside.
With the turnout being large, so were the costs. Food and shirts were provided to attendees, and the event ended with a fireworks display. Dunn said while they do not have the final cost, the majority of the payment for “It’s On!” was paid for with private money.
Dunn said the fundraiser is divided into four areas: student scholarships, faculty support for professorships and chairs, program support for different departments and facilities support for renovation and construction.
“The whole campaign is really to transform the university from the time the campaign started to the time it will end,” Dunn said. “Our goal is to see change in everything that we do at the university. To allow more students scholarships to new capital projects.”
Senior history major Hannah Fuller was an attendee of the event but didn’t manage to get a seat in the packed theater. Instead, she watched from the lobby as Goodman announced the fundraiser and outlined what it would do for the university.
Fuller, an employee in the Coger Theatre box office, said while it was exciting the university would be expanding areas, specifically the College of Arts and Letters, the release felt a bit bland.
“It’s exciting that they are expanding the university, and I think it’s nice they’re finally doing stuff for the arts like building the new tent theater building,” Fuller said. “But I think that it was a lot of hype for something that was a little bit underwhelming.”
Dunn said the fundraiser is dependent on support from multiple private groups.
“Private support is just going to be more critical than ever before, and so this campaign is to attract new donors and get as many alumni and friends of the institution to invest in this agenda,” Dunn said.
Nov. 10, the campaign has gathered $151 million in funding, over half of its goal of $250 million. Dunn said the fundraiser’s planned ending will be 2022, though it may extend into 2023 depending on the amount raised by then.