Tonight at our annual 1870 Dinner, we launched the public phase of the unprecedented billion dollar comprehensive fundraising campaign for Colorado State University. I want to thank all of you who have worked so hard on planning and strategizing during the campaign’s silent phase — it’s taken an enormous amount of work to get us to this point. (You can learn more about the campaign and the opportunities it offers at

The theme of the campaign is “State Your Purpose” — and the purpose of this campaign is simple. If we’re successful, we can:

  • Dramatically increase the number of scholarships so CSU can continue to attract, recruit, and create access for outstanding students throughout the state, the country, and the world.
  • Invest in world class infrastructure &mdash classrooms, labs, residence halls, and events facilities — so CSU can achieve across-the-board excellence.
  • Provide resources to our exceptional programs so CSU can continue to attract the leading faculty and staff minds in the world to further research and teaching.
  • Significantly increase CSU’s endowment for the long-term financial health of the University.

The heart of the campaign will take shape in the Colleges and Divisions, each of which has its own targeted advancement goals. In addition, a successful campaign will provide greater financial stability to the institution as a whole and allow us to be more competitive in nearly every dimension. If we’re successful, greater numbers of our graduates will leave with a diploma and not a crippling debt load; our faculty and staff will have improved resources to continue to innovate, discover, and transform the lives of students; we will have more sustainable, high-quality spaces for learning, living, and research; and we will have clearly demonstrated our firm commitment to excellence in all we do.

While it’s certainly ambitious, we’ve set this goal because we believe it’s achievable — and it’s also what we need as an institution to lay a sturdy foundation for the future of Colorado State University. For all of us who are invested in this University and its success, this campaign has the potential to make a lasting and important impact. I’m particularly pleased to be able to say we’re already well over half-way to our goal — in just over 3 years, we’ve raised more than the previous CSU campaign did in its entirety.

With your leadership and involvement, we have every reason to feel confident in reaching our goal by the target date of 2020, and the reception for the campaign launch at tonight’s donor dinner was exceptionally warm and enthusiastic.

This enthusiasm is a direct tribute to you and your work. I can guarantee that very few people give to a university because they love its administration. The donors who invest in Colorado State University are doing so because they are inspired by your commitment in the classroom, by the impact you’ve made on our students and our world, and by the character and spirit of this institution of which you are the embodiment.

So this message is first to say “thank you” — and then to ask for your leadership in helping ensure the campaign’s success. No one knows better than all of you why this matters. With the funding challenges confronting Colorado and higher education, the importance of private support continues to grow. Last year alone, donors contributed $173 million to support our students, programs, and faculty, while our state budget was just around $108 million.

Many of you rank among our most passionate donors — giving back regularly and through planned gifts to the departments, programs, and people who nurtured your careers and helped you along the way. So you understand the impact that gifts — large and small — can make for the University. But donors or not, all of us have a stake in this campaign. Ensuring a strong and reliable base of private support is critical to the long-term health and viability of the University and our ability to preserve access and build excellence.

Finally, I want to be clear: I absolutely recognize that we are launching this campaign in a year when we are facing state funding cuts and the potential for no pay increases for classified staff. In this environment, you may not feel compelled or able to contribute financially to the campaign — and believe me, that’s understood. This campaign isn’t just about money — it really is about supporting and upholding our purpose as a university. As with any major undertaking of this type, the end goal is not just to raise the money, but also to elevate our expectations, our stature, and our success in fulfilling our academic mission. No matter what our roles at CSU, we all have the opportunity to influence others and make an impact. I hear countless stories from students, parents, alumni, and visitors about the support they received from an adviser who took a personal interest, from an admissions counselor who showed someone that a CSU education was possible, from a grounds worker who stopped to offer directions to someone who looked lost, from a faculty member who challenged a student to explore a new and exciting life path.

Those stories speak to the purpose of Colorado State University — they speak to our character. They are the reasons people choose to study at CSU, and they are the reasons our donors choose to support us. If you can give financially to this campaign, we welcome your generosity. Your gifts, no matter what size, help to carry on the great work you’ve done here and ensure the fiscal health of the university for generations to come. But I also want to acknowledge that you already give to this university every day through the work you do and the lives you impact. When we succeed, it will be because of you.

Thank you — and I look forward to celebrating with you in 2020 when we reach our billion dollar goal!


Dr. Tony Frank

P.S. Please mark your calendars for the official Faculty and Staff Campaign Launch 11 a.m. March 7 in the LSC Grand Ballroom. Watch your email and SOURCE for more information.