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ESU Exceeds Initial Fundraising Goal

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Together, Forward to continue with ultimate goal of $75M

An ambitious fundraising campaign launched in the midst of a pandemic exceeded expectations, leaders of the Emporia State University Foundation announced during Homecoming 2021 activities on Friday, Oct. 22. Together, Forward: A Campaign for Emporia State will continue with a new stretch goal.

The campaign was publicly announced on Feb. 19, 2021. The university set its sights on reaching $50 million by Homecoming 2021. At the time of the announcement, ESU had raised $42 million during the silent phase of the campaign, which started in 2017.

Creating momentum for this first phase, the leadership phase, was essential. A bold objective of raising $8 million in eight months was set.

“(Foundation President) Shane Shivley and I kind of looked at each other and we both must have been feeling a little crazy on that day. We said, ‘Yes, let’s go ahead and launch a fundraising campaign in the middle of a global pandemic,’” recalled Allison D. Garrett, who served as ESU president for nearly 6 years before leaving the institution last week for a new position. “Our alumni and donors have continued to be generous to Emporia State. They are investing in the university’s future and the future of our students.”

“It was exactly the kind of rallying spirit I think Hornet Nation was looking for, and needed, coming out of 2020,” said Shivley, Emporia State University Foundation President/CEO. “We needed to come together and join hands to accomplish something important. We needed to dream about building for the future again, instead of being so focused on just the tiny details and the day-to-day that COVID created.”

Hornet alumni, fans and friends of the university responded to the call and stepped up to give their support. At the Friday night Homecoming kick-off celebration, ESU announced they had not only met this first goal, but they had also surpassed it – $54,852,637 raised so far.

This success is just the beginning for Emporia State and the Together, Forward campaign. The ultimate fundraising goal is $75 million.

This university campaign effort is focused on students by enhancing and expanding high-impact learning experiences, rewarding talent through scholarships and seizing upon unique opportunities that allow students to pursue the heights of excellence. To learn more about Together, Forward, The Campaign for Emporia State, visit