OU Reaches $450 Million ‘Promise’ Fundraising Goal A Year Early

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A $2 million gift from two Ohio University employees has pushed the university’s The Promise Lives fundraising campaign past its $450 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule.

The campaign aimed to raise $450 million in support of the university by June 30, 2015.

A $2 million commitment from Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor of molecular and cellular biology John Kopchick and his wife Char, assistant dean of students for campus involvement, tipped the campaign over goal, the university announced on Tuesday. Their commitment supports the university's interdisciplinary programs in molecular and cellular biology and in translational biomedical sciences.

“John and Char's gift is a powerful example of the passion of (Ohio University’s) faculty and staff for this singular place,” said OU President Roderick McDavis. “What an outstanding illustration of not only mentorship, teaching, and research, but of giving back and coming full circle through an extraordinary gift that will live in perpetuity at Ohio University!”

John Kopchick is best known for his discovery of the grown hormone antagonist drug SOMAVERT, which has resulted in more than $80 million in royalty income that has supported biomedical research and technology commercialization initiatives at Ohio University.

“It’s my fantastic honor to make this gift and to be able to watch this new program in translational biomedical sciences become a reality, and to be a part of it, and to work to bring it together,” said John Kopchick. “This kind of research is often called ‘bench to bedside.’ That’s what we have been doing and are continuing to do. We always hope to translate basic science into something useful. In fact, we were doing it before the words ‘bench to bedside’ were first used. So, I’m very excited to support the MCB and translational biomedical sciences programs.”

In addition to the Kopchicks, nearly 75,000 OU alumni and supporters have contributed to the campaign so far.

According to a news release from OU, “Transformational, multi-million dollar commitments already have pushed the campaign to historic levels and donors have met many of the Campaign objectives — committing more than $100 million for capital projects; $105 million in support of faculty; and $50 million for academic and student programs. To date, more than $450.86 million has been committed to the campaign.”

“I am very proud of all that Ohio University’s alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students have accomplished to date through The Promise Lives Campaign,” McDavis said. “The tremendous loyalty and generosity of the Bobcat Nation has surpassed all of our expectations. Thank you to the thousands of Ohio (University) supporters who contributed to this extraordinary milestone! It is through your support that Ohio University is becoming the nation’s best transformative learning community. It is through your support that the Ohio promise lives.”

McDavis added, “While this is indeed an historic moment in Ohio University’s history, our work is not finished. With more than a year left until the campaign ends, I know that Bobcats across the globe will continue to give generously to support our students, our faculty and our future.”

The colleges, units and campuses continue to strive toward their individual goals and priorities. For example, the Heritage College and the College of Health Sciences and Professions are working to raise funds in support of the Dublin and Cleveland campuses. And, one overall campaign funding priority remains to be fulfilled: scholarship support.

According to the university, scholarships play a crucial role in the OU’s ability to recruit and retain talented students. While public support for higher education decreases, the cost that students and their families bear for tuition, fees, and books increases. Scholarships bridge this gap for promising students.

Through the Invest Ohio Undergraduate Scholarship Matching Program the university has dedicated $25 million to strengthen its endowed scholarship program. For a limited time, these funds will be used to match 50 cents on every dollar committed to eligible scholarship endowments. So, $50 million in scholarship giving will grow to $75 million in support for students. Already, donors have committed more than $1.9 million toward “Invest Ohio.” Combined with matching dollars, that is $2.85 million in new endowed scholarship support.

“We’ve covered a lot of ground, and I’m particularly grateful to the Campaign Steering Committee, under the leadership of Charles R. Stuckey Jr., for its unwavering commitment to Ohio and to the campaign.” said President and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation and Vice President of University Advancement J. Bryan Benchoff.

“But, there are still many alumni and friends whom we’ve yet to reach out to in support of the university’s students, faculty and programs. In the remaining months of the campaign, we’ll be striving toward participation. This is our opportunity to take private giving to Ohio (University) to new heights, together.”

For the remaining 14 months of the campaign, OU’s focus is on securing support for scholarships and pushing the Invest Ohio Scholarship Matching Program — and The Promise Lives Campaign — to the highest possible level.

“When you get that call, or that letter in the mail, think about how far we can take this campaign — about what we can achieve together for our university. This is it,” says Benchoff. “This is our moment to make a difference.”