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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2005

BGSU kicking off public phase of fund campaign

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - As co-chairman of Bowling Green State University's capital campaign, Kermit Stroh knows he will be on the road and on the phone in upcoming months making personal pleas for money.

Now he can tell prospective donors that university leaders have given him a head start, raising nearly $75 million in the campaign's private phase.

University officials announced details about the public phase of BGSU's capital campaign - which plans to raise $120 million by Dec. 31, 2008 - last night.

Mr. Stroh said he is not daunted by the task of helping to raise millions of dollars in what marks the university's most comprehensive fund-raiser in its nearly 100-year history. BGSU will turn a century old in 2010.

"It's just an exciting thing," said Mr. Stroh, an ex-BGSU trustee living in Wapakoneta. "One of the things I think is so important is that private support is so necessary."

Mr. Stroh and 1967 alumnus Ronald Whitehouse of Harbor Springs, Mich., are campaign co-chairmen. Cash raised will be earmarked for scholarships, endowed chair positions, capital improvements, and academic program enhancements.

Marcia Latta, BGSU's head of development and associate vice president for university advancement, said leaders are pleased with results of the cam-

paign so far. They've received 17 gifts of $1 million or more, including several multimillion dollar donations.

Sandusky resident George Mylander gave $2 million; skater Scott Hamilton and alumnus Bill Dallas contributed $3 million together, and BGSU Trustee Robert Sebo and his wife, Karen, of Salem, Ohio, pledged $4.4 million. In all, 48,284 people have contributed funds to the effort, she said.

"I would say we are ahead of schedule and we are really heartened and humbled by the incredible generosity that has come forth," Ms. Latta said.

"I think people really understand that it is very difficult right now for middle-class, college-aged students to achieve a four-year degree without some additional assistance and so, particularly on the scholarship front, they're very willing to step forward," he said.

Ms. Latta said more than 265 scholarships have been created since the private portion of the campaign began in July, 2002. The goal is to raise $38 million for scholarships, with $25.5 million in hand so far.

Doug Smith, president of the BGSU Foundation Inc. and vice president for university advancement, said he often hears alums speak of their positive experiences at BGSU, especially as it relates to faculty members. He credited that positive experience during the college years as one of the main reasons for the success of the campaign thus far.

Mr. Smith said the campaign's public portion will take off this summer will a series of regional kickoffs in certain communities, including New York City in July.

"We're rolling out to those key areas where our alums are based," he said.

Similarly at UT, the university is in the midst of a capital campaign. It remains in the private phase.

Vern Snyder, vice president for institutional advancement at UT, said leaders will consult with a campaign advisory committee before they make announcements on when their fund-raising will go public.

During the university's spring convocation, the campaign - which is now soliciting funds from UT employees - got a boost with an announcement that President Dan Johnson and his wife, Elaine, donated $100,000 to create a scholarship fund.

That fund is earmarked for students from Toledo's central city who want to major in education and then return to the central city to teach.

Mr. Snyder said members of UT's board of trustees also have pledged combined gifts of more than $1 million.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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