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College launches $80M fundraising campaign

November 10, 2017
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Ferris State University Swan Annex rendering
A rendering of the expanded and renovated Swan Annex. Courtesy Ferris State University

A college in the region is launching its first comprehensive capital campaign.

Ferris State University has unveiled an $80-million comprehensive capital campaign, called “Now and Always.” It is the university’s first such fundraising effort.

Approximately $36 million will support endowed scholarships, and $44 million will support Big Rapids facility improvements, programming initiatives and expanded partnership initiatives.

The amount raised so far was not disclosed, though major donors include Phil and Jocelyn Hagerman with $5 million, Jeff and Annette Rowe with $4.2 million, Leica Geosystems with more than $2 million, Adel Makki with $600,000, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation with $500,000 and Ken and Kim Janke Jr. with $500,000.

“We’ve been really humbled by the number of people who are willing to support us, and we continue to work hard on this every single day,” said Ferris President David Eisler.

The $36 million will go toward the Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge, which provides $3 million annually through June 30, 2022, in matching funds for gifts of $12,500 or more toward new or existing endowments.

Big Rapids construction projects include an expansion and renovation of Swan Annex, which houses welding and manufacturing programs. Other projects include an athletics training facility, indoor golf facility, tutoring center, health care facility for student training and a mobile clinic, and criminal justice training center.

Other support will go to summer undergraduate research and creativity grants and fellowships, as well as scholarship support for students of the Michigan College of Optometry.

Community partnerships to be supported include building a Grand Rapids community facility with learning space for seminars, classes and community workshops; curatorial support for the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts; outreach to Latino and Asian communities; and facility and program improvements to Kendall College of Art and Design.

There is no end date set for the campaign, but Eisler said he would like to have projects finished within the next three to five years.

“You only get to do something for the first time once, and so we’re working as hard as we can to really make a difference for our students and for our university programs,” he said.

Donors can give through the campaign’s website.

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