Cameron University announces final tally of Centennial Changing Lives Campaign

Lawton_Press Release_Cameron University President Cindy Ross shared the results of the university's unprecedented Centennial Changing Lives Campaign during a special announcement held today on the university campus at Cameron Park. Ross was joined by CU students Justin Cellum, Ryan Faucett, Simone Graves and Whitney Harstad to announce the results of CU's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. The Centennial Changing Lives Campaign, with an ambitious goal of $8.5 million, was the largest three-year campaign of any regional university in the state's history.

"In just one month - 30 days from today, Cameron University will kick off a year-long birthday party befitting 100 years of changing lives through education," Ross said. "The Centennial Year provides the perfect opportunity to spotlight Cameron's rich history and to share the excitement of Cameron University."

She then outlined the campaign's timeline, recalling the January 11, 2006 kick off, progress of the campaign during the three-year period including the "Dig Deeper" challenge which raised the overall goal to $10 million, before summarizing the five campaign categories that will catapult Cameron into its second century.

Ross asked Harstad, a junior majoring in chemistry, to talk about the McMahon Centennial Complex, the state-of-the-art student activities complex that will become the heart of campus, a place where students can eat, play and study.  Slated for completion in Fall 2009, the MCC will position CU as the location of choice in southwest Oklahoma, with an elegant ballroom that will serve as the ideal setting for community events. Harstad, a Lawton native, shared her excitement about the complex before revealing the final fundraising tally of $6,651,562, exceeding the goal of $6.5 million.

Tishomingo native Cellum took the podium to speak about the MCC's companion piece, the Bentley Gardens. Cellum, a junior majoring in accounting, envisioned the colorful setting that the 2.6-acre Bentley Gardens will bring to the CU campus with lush gardens, flowers, benches, a gazebo and beautifully landscaped water feature. He proudly announced that the Changing Lives Campaign raised $800,898 for the Bentley Gardens, blasting through the original goal of $500,000.

Ross then asked Graves, a sophomore vocal music major from Oklahoma City, to speak about the endowed faculty positions that were funded by the campaign, announcing that CU boasts the largest number of endowed faculty positions of any regional university in the state. Graves stressed the importance of CU's high quality faculty, then revealed that the Campaign had generated $2,612,819 for endowed faculty positions, more then quadrupling the $650,000 goal.

Faucett, a junior majoring in business management, spoke about student scholarships. The Elgin native emphasized the critical need for financial aid, reminding the audience that many students would be deprived of a quality education if CU were unable to provide financial assistance. He then revealed the final campaign tally for this area: $1,962,867, exceeding the $600,000 goal by 327 percent.

Ross recapped the fifth campaign category, university advancement, detailing the numerous projects and initiatives that fall into this area. The Changing Lives Campaign garnered $539,181 for university advancement projects, more than doubling the goal of $250,000.

With great pride, Ross then announced the Changing Lives campaign final tally, stating that $12,567,327 had been raised to fund campaign initiatives, exceeding the original goal of $8.5 million by almost 50 percent.

"Three years ago we had a dream, and that dream led us to embark on a historic and ambitious fundraising campaign," Ross said in her closing remarks. "Today we know that dreams do come true. The dream of Cameron's Centennial Changing Lives Campaign came true because of the overwhelming generosity of the donors who are providing a solid foundation for Cameron's second century."