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Department: Foundation

Emporia State rings the bell for more successes

July 30, 2014

For a master’s degree candidate in biology, tapping into a research fund supported by the Emporia State University Foundation made the difference in his thesis project this past spring.

To another student, extending a prestigious scholarship for another year helped him decide to continue pursuing his elementary education degree at Emporia State instead of transferring closer to home.

Celebrating record-breaking philanthropy

Those stories are two in a series of successes made possible through gifts to the Emporia State Foundation. For the Foundation, it is the amount of gifts received in fiscal year 2014 that was cause for celebrating Wednesday, July 30.

Emporia State’s alumni, friends, parents, faculty, students and corporate partners made gifts to Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University totaling $15,532,470 during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014.

That total exceeds the previous year’s fund raising — a record amount in itself — by almost $6.5 million.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of our friends in Hornet Nation,” said DenaSue Potestio, Foundation President/CEO, applauding the work of Foundation staff, board members, students and volunteers in helping raise the bar even higher than last year’s achievement.

“We work hard, and amazing things happen,” said Potestio.

Of the $15.5 million given in FY 2014, $8.7 million was deferred gifts and $6.8 million was cash and pledges.

Milestones during the year included gifts that established the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics in Emporia State’s School of Business, which also benefited from an anonymous gift creating a Distinguished Business Scholar program and an advancement fund established by Emporians Dale and Carolyn Davis in honor of Dr. John Rich, a respected School of Business professor.

The Foundation also celebrated George Breidenthal’s commitment to the Lady Hornet basketball program, along with an endowed music professorship honoring Rosamond Hirschorn created by Art Piculell in honor of his late wife, Dee.

“You are making the future a brighter place for our students, just as past generations did for us,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, Emporia State president, thanking the 4,780 individuals — 4,165 alumni and 615 friends of the university who gave to the Now & Forever campaign.

Emporia State students have played a large part in Now & Forever since its launch. The Emporia State Student Foundation, like Now & Forever, is entering its third year. During FY 2014, nearly 100 new students contributed to the campaign through the student foundation.

Celebrating fundraising efficiency

“We’re also making great progress in improving our fundraising efficiency,” Potestio noted. Each dollar invested in the Now & Forever campaign returned a $6.21 benefit in FY 2014. The total cost to raise one dollar for fundraising activity in FY 2014 dropped to just 16 cents, well under the industry average of 25 cents per dollar.

Celebrating alumni connections

Along with impressive efforts in raising money for student scholarships and university priorities, Emporia State’s Alumni Association has some successes to applaud this year as well.

“More than 10,000 people participated in 2013 Homecoming-related events, creating a local economic impact of over $4.2 million,” noted Tyler Curtis, executive director of alumni relations. Emporia State’s 2014 Homecoming will be Oct. 17 and 18.

Homecoming was one of 52 events the Alumni Association hosted during the year, building on its mission of connecting, serving and supporting Hornet alumni. Another is Emporia State’s presence at the Kansas State Fair each September. Last year, alumni staff, university and alumni volunteers handed out 15,000 promotional bags to fair visitors, and plan to repeat the activity during the fair’s Sept. 5-14 run in 2014.

About Now & Forever

Launched in February 2013, Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University is a five- to seven-year effort with a working goal of $45 million. The campaign supports student scholarships, academic departments and initiatives that advance Emporia State’s mission to recruit students, teach and retain them, encourage them to graduate with lower levels of student debt, and ultimately put them on a path to a solid career.

For more information about opportunities to give to the Now & Forever campaign, visit, or contact DenaSue Potestio at 620-341-5440.

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