Centennial Campaign Hits $62 Million Mark

Our Centennial Campaign continues to maintain great momentum and is generating lots of enthusiasm among supporters. At the end of the calendar year, the campaign had achieved more than $62 million in commitments toward its $80 million goal.

A couple of key highlights from the past year include

  • bequest from the late Ken Shipp (’50) valued at more than $3.5 million, dedicated for need-based scholarships;
  • an anonymous $1 million commitment supporting a number of initiatives on campus; and
  • several new scholarship endowments and faculty awards.

We’re also seeing greater interest from our alumni and friends as the number of donors continues to increase each year. As of December, more than 15,000 donors have contributed to the campaign. Most impressively, our graduating seniors have embraced the Senior Gift Challenge; 17 percent of the December graduating class made their first gifts to MTSU through the program.

While the dollars are obviously important, this campaign is also about engaging our friends and alumni in more meaningful ways. In talking with many of our donors, the one thing most apparent to me is that their gifts were the result of a lifelong relationship with MTSU. Many still speak fondly of the important role certain faculty members had in their lives. They say they give so that future students might enjoy that same connection with members of our MTSU community.

Joe Bales, vice president for development and university relations, often reminds us that we begin developing a relationship with our students the day they first apply for admission. How we treat them and the effort we make to help them achieve their goals are the most important influences that can turn them into alumni who want to give back to their alma mater.

The results of our Senior Gift Challenge show that we are doing the right things for many of our students, but it also shows that there are opportunities remaining. How each of us chooses to interact with students in and out of the classroom is crucial to our efforts to build a stronger community.

Enrollment Strategy Plan

MTSU’s enrollment has grown significantly, from 19,121 students in 2000 to more than 25,000 today. A key to future efforts to better serve students will be the implementation of a new strategic plan for student success.

A draft enrollment and retention plan now under my review would meet the requirements of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 and the accompanying funding formula, where simple enrollment growth by itself is not rewarded; instead, budget allocations are based on demonstrated improvements in  retention and plan was sharedwith the Faculty Senate, the Chairs Council, and other faculty last spring. Feedback was solicited through the end of September 2012.

A consulting team of faculty was then put together, consisting of Drs. Michael Arndt, Jackie Eller, Steve Estes, Marva Lucas, and Rebecca Fischer. That group worked hard through the summer of 2012 and  even into the holiday season, evaluating comments that came in from faculty and administrators across the campus, reviewing the sources of data represented in the initial draft, and adding additional content to the strategic plan. As a result of their best efforts, a final plan will be forthcoming from my office.

A key recommendation in the draft plan is to reach a target maximum enrollment capacity of 30,000 students through carefully managed, targeted growth in various subpopulations of the student body. The focus would also be on attracting more students who are likely to graduate and using a variety of support systems to help keep all students on a path to academic success.

Final plans will emphasize constant communication as a key to targeted recruitment and include strategic use of software that makes it easier for the University to identify and stay in touch with top prospects. It will provide a continuum of support to keep enrolled students on track and engaged. And it will also broaden that safety net, adding more specialized programs and stricter advising requirements for students who are statistically at higher risk of academic failure.

Critical questions addressed in the plan include the following:

  • Should we slow the growth of our freshman class?
  • Can we better target high-achievers by slightly raising academic standards for guaranteed  undergraduate admission?Should we continue to increase the number of graduate students, who earn their diplomas more quickly and reliably than undergraduates?
  • Should we continue to aggressively pursue increasing the enrollment of more international students, a high-achieving group whose members generally complete their degrees on time?
  • Should we continue to increase our recruitment efforts and scholarship dollars for transfer students, who have survived the so-called dropout years of early college?

As these plans are finalized and adopted, it is important to keep in mind that plans alone will not ensure student success. Retaining and graduating students is everyone’s job. Students will remember those  faculty and staff members who challenged them the most, not the least. They will remember the people who reached out, who connected with them. That is why I ask each of you to remember that no matter what you do—as a member of the faculty, staff, or administration—all of us have a responsibility for  student success.

MTSU is already the most efficient producer of graduates for Tennessee and a tremendous investment  or the state. Part of the reason is that everyone at MTSU—every dean, every professor, every secretary, every technical support person, every groundskeeper—feels that retention and graduation of students is their job. Together, we make student success possible.

Construction Update

MTSU is an exciting place to work and study in large part because so many improvements are underway! Here are some highlights of recent and current projects.

Science Building

Construction on MTSU’s new $147 million Science Building began in May 2012. Construction is on  schedule, an a steel topping-out ceremony took place Jan. 11. The project will result in approximately 257,000 gross square feet for biology and chemistry, 37 class labs, two open labs, 13 research labs, six classrooms, faculty offices, numerous informal learning areas, and space for student presentations. Approximately 1,500 new student stations will be provided in the labs and classrooms. The building will accommodate state-of-the-art teaching and research technologies. The design features best practices in sustainability by meeting Tennessee State Sustainability Guidelines, and the completed facility will be the equivalent of LEED-certified. The project is planned to be ready for move-in by fall 2014 and ready for classes in spring 2015.

Student Services Building and Parking Garages

Construction began last spring for a new Student Services Building located east of the new Student Union and adjacent to the Campus Recreation Building. The Student Services Building will relocate all functions related to Admissions, Records and Enrollment, Financial Aid, Scheduling, the Bursar’s Office, and Academic Advising. The facility will serve as a starting point for campus tours and as the primary visitors’ center for prospective students and their families. The building will include a bridge from a new student parking garage, through the Student Services Building and extending across Blue Raider Drive to the second-floor ballroom level of the new Student Union. Construction and move-in are expected to be complete by the start of fall semester 2014.

LRC Renovation

Renovation of the Learning Resources Center began Dec. 2011, and construction is now substantially  complete and ready for classes. The project accommodates the Interior Design and Textiles, Merchandising, and Design programs in the academic campus core. Creative and Visual Services has moved into newly renovated space in the Fairview Building, and WMOT and WMTS are now in the new Center for Innovation in Media in the Bragg Mass Communication Building.


Current parking projects include construction of two new student parking garages. One is adjacent to the Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center, and the other is in the Holmes Building lot close to Greenland Drive. The garages will give students convenient access from the edge of campus and direct pedestrian traffic to the core of campus. Each will have approximately 490 spaces for students and will be  substantially complete in summer 2013.


The next phase of roadway improvements includes the widening of Lightning Way and the widening of Champion Way with a new turn lane at Greenland Drive; a new rotary at the intersection of those two roads; and improved pedestrian walkways, crosswalks, and lighting. Construction is expected to begin spring 2013 with substantial completion of the new rotary in the summer of 2013 and completion of the overall project by summer 2014. All roadway projects are designed to improve shuttle bus efficiency and traffic flow, relieve traffic congestion, improve pedestrian walkways and lighting, and provide bike lanes into campus and around the perimeter of the academic core.

Underground Electric Work

Construction of underground electrical duct banks is nearing completion, in what will be an electrical loop around campus. This project will improve electrical service capacity and reliability while enhancing the campus by removing most overhead lines, which will be removed following temporary, required power outages.

Tuition Discount for Your Children

During 2013, many of you with high school students will begin the lengthy but important process of  selecting a college for your son or daughter to attend. Often, the first thought many students have is to leave home and go away to school. I want you to consider suggesting to your children that they look closely at MTSU before making that decision to move away. There are many reasons it can be the most beneficial choice both for them and for you!

First and foremost, I hope you feel as I  do that MTSU provides a quality education in a great university community with people who truly care about their welfare. Also, as a full-time member of the faculty or staff, your family is eligible for a 50 percent discount on undergraduate tuition fees and mandatory student fees. Combined with the wealth of scholarships that are available—such as the Buchanan, National Merit, Presidential, and Academic Service Scholarships—and the varied forms of financial aid MTSU makes available to thousands of students, the burden of paying for your child’s college education can be significantly lightened by choosing MTSU.

Finally, our campus has evolved greatly over the past decade. With so many new facilities, service clubs and extracurricular activities, students at MTSU today never have to leave campus to keep busy and to have a great time. Plus, they will be close enough to come home from time to time and get a home-cooked meal or a helping hand getting their laundry washed!

Here is what two members of our University family had to say about attending MTSU:

Alison and Kippy Todd

Alison and Kippy Todd

“I chose MTSU because it felt like a community geared towards my goal of learning at an affordable price,” said Alison Todd, daughter of Kippy Todd, a development officer in the College of Mass Communication. “MTSU felt like a place I could find unique opportunities for learning and, most importantly, quality. Sometimes, I do steal her peanut butter crackers in her desk between classes though.”

“The 50% MTSU tuition discount that faculty and staff receive is a tremendous advantage, and because it can be used during the summer term, Clay is graduating in three-and-a-half years,” said Ellen Jones, a technical clerk in the Biology department. “Not only will Clay graduate with a great education, but because of the tuition benefit he will not have any student loans to repay!”

Visit http://www.mtsu.edu/hrs/benefits/assist.php for more information on this and other educational assistance benefits available to you as an MTSU employee.

Winter Weather Delays and Cancellation Policy

In the event of inclement weather, MTSU will disseminate closing plans through the following:

  • Local radio and television stations
  • MTSU’s Critical Notification System (formerly known as Rave).
  • The Alert Updates Web page at www.mtsu.edu/alertupdates
  • A banner on the MTSU home page at www.mtsu.edu
  • The MTSU hotline, (615) 898-2000.

If classes are canceled, it will be announced as soon as possible (but no later than two hours before the start of the first class on the following morning). Cancellation will apply to all classes, credit and noncredit. Offices will be considered open unless the announcement specifically says they will be closed .

Radio Stations
  • WMOT-FM 89.5
  • WQQK-FM 92.1
  • WKDF-FM 103.3
  • WGFX-FM 104.5
  • WLAC-AM 1510
  • WGNS-AM 1450
 Television Stations
  • WKRN-TV (Channel 2)
  • WSMV-TV (Channel 4)
  • WTVF-TV (Channel 5)
  • WETV (WGNS Channel 11)
  • WZTV (Channel 17)

Reminder on our Tobacco-Free Policy

On Jan. 1, 2012, the University’s Tobacco Free policy went into effect following a six-month grace period, which allowed the campus to get prepared and acclimated.  We have been very pleased with the general acceptance of this new policy and have noticed a significant decrease in the use of tobacco products on our campus.  Reports from Health Services staff also indicate a number of individuals have quit smoking or are seeking cessation assistance because of the policy change.

However, a new academic year brings new students, faculty and staff to our community who may not be fully aware of our policy, which restricts the use of all tobacco products on our campus except in private vehicles.  For those who would like more information on the policy, you can click the following link for more information:

While the habits and practices that took years to form will not easily end with the establishment of this policy, undertaking this change is in the best interest of our campus community. Our intent is to signal a change in attitudes and social norms on our campus, rooted in consideration of others and concern for their safety that will strengthen with each year.  Acceptance of this policy has come a long way in the past year, yet from my frequent walks across campus and interaction with others, I know that there are some who have interpreted our thoughtful approach as a sign that this policy cannot, or will not, be enforced. I have been disappointed to see and learn about students, faculty and staff members openly smoking on campus, sometimes inside or near University buildings.

It is important for members of our campus community to understand that compliance with our tobacco-free policy is not optional. There are consequences that will result from violating this policy, just as there are from violating any other University regulation. Students who violate this policy will be referred to Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services where the disciplinary process will be initiated which could include a disciplinary hearing.  Disciplinary sanctions will range from warnings or reprimands, to suspension or expulsion for the most egregious instances of non-compliance. Faculty and staff who fail to comply with institutional policy will be reported to their supervisors for discipline.  Consequences ranging from warnings to unsatisfactory job performance ratings (which will result in denial of any across-the-board salary increase) will be imposed.  The person confronting a smoker may ask for the smoker’s MTSU ID, which must be produced.  Failure to produce an MTSU ID is itself a disciplinary offense.

No single entity has been tasked to enforce our tobacco-free policy since it is truly a community-wide effort.  Each member of our campus should take steps to remind those violating the policy that our campus is tobacco free.   Few of us like confrontation.  But as MTSU employees, we all have the responsibility to enforce campus policy.  In order to assist those hesitant to approach a smoker, the following dialogue suggestions (which have been utilized successfully) are provided as a guide when encountering someone using tobacco on university property.  Suggested language:

“Excuse me, but MTSU is a tobacco-free campus now, so you’ll need to put out your cigarette.”
“You may not be aware, but MTSU is a tobacco-free campus now.  You can smoke in your car or on off campus property, but you can’t smoke on campus.”

If the person is resistant or refuses to extinguish his/her cigarette, you should ask to see that person’s MTSU ID.  Write down the name and ID number, or photograph the card with your smartphone.  If a student, provide this information to Laura Lightsy at laura.lightsy@mtsu.edu ; if faculty or staff, send the information to Kathy Musselman at kathy.musselman@mtsu.edu.  If the individual refuses to extinguish the cigarette and/or provide an ID, contact Public Safety at 2424 and ask for assistance.

We will continue our efforts to assure that the campus is aware of our policy.  Areas where frequent violations of our tobacco-free policy have been observed will be getting more attention, ranging from increased signage to visits by Public Safety officers and others, to ensure that community members are aware of our shared responsibilities.

I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Making Student Success a Priority

MTSU students gather on the KOM steps

MTSU students gather on the steps of Kirksey Old Main

As we embark on our second century, we are well positioned to build on our success and cement our reputation as Tennessee’s Best comprehensive university.

But there is much more to do if we are to reach our full potential.

As you well know, the state’s funding formula for universities has changed. With the passage of the Complete College Tennessee Act, our state appropriation is now based on retention and graduation rates, not enrollment.

This change has prompted MTSU, as well as all of the state’s public institutions of higher education, to rethink our operations and structure.

The funding formula makes it more important than ever for us to focus on attracting more students who are best equipped for college and are most likely to graduate.

And it becomes critical that we continue to develop effective support systems that will help all our students succeed.

It is also time for us to again take a strong, careful look at the size of our institution and to consider the following questions and issues:

  • What should be our maximum enrollment?
  • How does that number balance with our resources and standards?

Last academic year, I asked for the development of a plan that would allow for enrollment growth in a deliberate and economically viable way.

The Strategic Plan for Enrollment Management, currently in draft form, is now before the Faculty Senate and others for feedback.

It addresses several critical questions, among them:

  • Should we slow the growth of our freshman class?
  • Can we better target high-achievers by slightly raising academic standards for guaranteed undergraduate admission?
  • Should we continue to increase the number of graduate students, who earn their diplomas more quickly and reliably than undergraduates?
  • Should we continue to aggressively pursue increasing the enrollment of more international students, a high achieving group, whose members generally complete their degrees on time?
  • And should we continue to increase our recruitment efforts and scholarship dollars for transfer students, who have survived the so-called dropout years of early college?

In 1993, a noted scholar of higher education administration, Vincent Tinto, said universities must do more than recruit solid students—they must also build a culture that enables them to succeed.

Tinto put forward three very simple principles of “effective retention” and they are:

  • Put student welfare ahead of other institutional goals. In other words, work first to take care of students and, most likely, most everything else will follow suit.
  • Create and maintain retention tools and practices that help all students, not just some of them.
  • AND build a sense of community and common values, which helps to build connection and belonging by students to the university.

I want to spend a minute on that third point—building a sense of community and common values for the institution.

A fascinating 2005 study by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities on best practices in student retention revealed several points that are worthy of reflection.

The successful universities profiled in the study worked to create a pervasive attitude that all students can succeed, reinforced by a wider culture of student engagement, on multiple levels. They were not content to rest on past success.

Recently, we have initiated some programs to help improve student success on our campus. For example:

• We started an Academic Alert program, which allows faculty to communicate directly with students about classroom performance and follow up on concerns. Last year, more than 27,000 early alerts were entered in this digital system.

• We have assigned all incoming students with Academic Counselors, in addition to their standard academic advisors. While advisors change each time a student changes majors, the student’s Academic Counselor is the one person they can turn to for help — from enrollment through graduation — regardless of what they study.

• AND…We are now deploying admissions advisors to major feeder community colleges in the region. Through this program, prospective transfer students have access—on their own campus—to MTSU staff through regularly maintained office hours at the community college.

These are just three of the many ideas that are in place or being developed that focus upon student success. Through these and other retention efforts, we hope to improve student performance and scholarship and target resources to students when they most need them.

But there is so much more to do. • If we sit on our hands and do nothing, we may fail to seize an opportunity that could define our second century.

Students will remember those faculty and staff members who challenged them the most, not the least. They will remember the people who reached out, who connected with them.

That is why I ask each of you to remember that no matter what you do, as a member of the faculty, staff or administration, all of us have a responsibility for student success.

Together, we make student success possible at Middle Tennessee State University.

Campus Construction Update

MTSU is an exciting place to work and study in large part because so many renovations and new buildings are underway, taking shape, or opening for use! Here are some highlights of recent and current projects.

MTSU Jeff Hendrix Stadium Club Ribbon Cutting

Dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Jeff Hendrix Stadium club in MTSU’s Floyd Stadium made possible by a $1 million donation by Jeff Hendrix estate.

Jeff Hendrix Stadium Club: Located between the 30-yard lines of Floyd Stadium, the new club features a climate-controlled lounge and more than 550 outdoor chair-back seats. The project, which was formally dedicated on Aug. 20, is a result of a $1 million private donation from the estate of long-time MTSU supporter Jeff Hendrix.

Learning Resource Center (LRC) Renovation: This $7.2 million renovation project in the heart of campus will provide new offices, classrooms, and labs for the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, primarily the Department of Human Sciences. The building will reopen in January 2013. (LRC 221 is scheduled to open in spring 2013.)

Parking Garages: Two parking structures (one near the Holmes Building and one near the as-yet-unbuilt Student Services Building) are under construction.

They will provide 990 parking spaces (a net gain of 887). A second-level bridge will connect the Student Services garage to and through Student

Services, over Blue Raider Drive, and into the Student Union at the ballroom level. The total cost of the garages is $23.5 million.

Student Services Building: Located next to the MTSU Student Union, this $16 million building is to be occupied in fall 2014. It will be a one-stop area for students to conduct University business (Admissions, Financial Aid, Advising, and Bursar’s Office).

Science Building: The 250,000-square-foot structure, next to Walker Library, will house 36 teaching labs; four classrooms (150-, 75-, 60-, and 50-seat); 12 research suites (physiology, organismal, molecular, synthetic, analytical); 85 offices; one research space for integrated life sciences; one research space for computation; a greenhouse; a vivarium; graduate student spaces; and informal learning spaces. The total project cost is $147 million.

Conference Center: Designed as a flexible meeting, seminar, or special event venue (with a seating capacity of 32 for a seminar, 96 for dining, and 160 for lectures), this $1 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2013.

Widening and Improvements to Middle Tennessee Boulevard: Bike lanes, wider lanes, a landscaped median, and traffic-calming features for pedestrian safety at intersections.

Ongoing Parking and Transportation Enhancements: The new entrance and signal at Greenland Drive and Blue Raider Drive is open and fully operational. Improvements along MTSU Boulevard through the core of campus have improved shuttle bus efficiency and pedestrian safety. Sidewalks have been widened, and ADA access has been improved. The new rotary supports efficient traffic flow at the new intersection at Blue Raider Drive and Lightning Way. The next phase of construction in this area is in design and slated to start this fall. Turn lanes at Champion Way will be widened; Lightning Way will be widened to accommodate shuttle buses and bike lanes; and the addition of a new rotary at the intersection of Lightning Way and Champion Way will improve traffic flow into and out of campus.

Campus Lighting Enhancements: Phase 1, in which we retrofitted and replaced existing lights with newer-technology fixtures and converted high pressure sodium lamps to metal halide, is complete. Nighttime visibility and general campus illumination has been improved for better security. The replacement fixtures use roof-mounted optics and “dark sky” features consistent with recommended best practices in energy and environmental design and corresponding State

of Tennessee Sustainable Design Guidelines. Phase 2, still to come, will add new light fixtures to improve lighting consistency for better visibility and improved security.

Keathley University Center Renovation: This $2.3 million project will include the development of a new facility in the former Phillips Bookstore space to consolidate testing centers and also improve the Post Office space. It will accommodate Disabled Student Services testing, University Studies assessments, University College Distance Learning for online courses and correspondence exams, and Testing Services (licensure, certifications, ACT, GRE, LSAT, senior major field tests, etc.).

ADA Renovations and Elevator at Alumni Memorial Gym: This project provided full accessibility to the gym level and classes on the lower floor.

Women’s Practice Soccer Field: A new practice field at the corner of Greenland and Blue Raider Drive will replace the former field adjacent to the women’s softball field (The old field will become a parking lot.) The new field will be completed this summer and ready for play in late fall 2012.

Concrete Industry Building: This $11.2 million proposed building is in the design phase.

Student Housing: House #4 on Greek Row has been renovated and is scheduled to open in August under Housing management and will be occupied by Chi Omega. They join the Global Learning Community, which will continue to occupy House #7. Two more houses, #2 and #6, will be renovated during the 2012–2013 academic year and turned over to Housing for occupancy during 2013–2014.

New Campus Technology at MTSU

There are several exciting new developments from our Information Technology Departments on ways computing and technology on campus are improving. Here are some highlights:

MTSU Mobile App Team

Student developers of the MTSU Mobile application work in their lab to prepare the app for its full-fledged launch next semester. Seated from left are Craig Murphy, Jason Bandy and Brandon Beard. Standing are Chris Johnson and Chelsea Rath.

Student Achievement

The team of five MTSU upper-division Computer Science students—Jason Bandy, Matthew Houglum, Chris Johnson, Chelsea Rath, and Justin Tiffner—who gained significant attention for developing the MTSU application for both Android and Apple mobile platforms (that includes event calendars, campus maps, parking/bus routes, class schedules, and dining services) has remained busy at work on other projects. The team has since done the following:

•        Developed an application for Geosciences to use in the field for survey and study guides

•        Began developing applications for Disability Services, homework, and study aids

•        Made plans to develop additional applications for departments across the University

•        Presented at the 41st annual Tennessee Higher Education Information Technology Conference (THEITS)

•        Presented at the TBR Android Mobility workshop

Mobility Summit

Working with the TBR, MTSU will host its first annual Mobility Summit, October 15–16, 2012. The summit will provide the Tennessee educational community from pre-K through college opportunities to explore how mobile technologies can be developed, utilized, and maintained to enhance learning.

C@M – Cloud at Middle

MTSU has built a private internal cloud called C@M–Cloud at Middle. The cloud delivers virtual access to desktop and classroom applications. The University has also moved student email, its campus-wide scheduling application, its learning management system, and its web content management system to the cloud.

The benefits of C@M are vast:

•        It provides the user a consistent look and feel, no matter where they are on campus.

•        It increases the performance and power of the PC for a better user experience.

•        It provides the University the ability to move applications from one classroom to another without physically going to the rooms.

•        It provides the University the ability to install applications without interfering with class schedules.

•        It makes applications available in a fraction of the time it currently takes for PCs that aren’t virtualized.

•        It diminishes wear and tear and down time of campus PCs.

•        It minimizes the effect of malware on campus by isolating computer viruses to a virtual machine. (When the virtual machine is rebooted, the virus is deleted.)

•        It extends PC life expectancy.

For the start of the fall, 2012 semester:

•        more than 200 applications will be virtualized,

•        more than 550 desktops will be virtualized, and

•        more than 50 employee desktops in ITD and Business/

•        Finance will be virtualized

Digital Signage

The campus-wide digital signage system has made great strides over the past year. From an interactive Tennessee Teacher’s Hall of Fame and MTSU Information Board in the College of Education building to 15 digital signs in the new Student Union, which include 6×10– and 20×3– foot video walls, we now have additional tools in place to capture the attention of faculty, staff, students, and visitors with the MTSU message.

These signs will help showcase MTSU’s best activities, help people find their way around campus, and function as an additional way to communicate with the MTSU community and beyond (including emergency communications). As part of an overall messaging and marketing strategy, more interactive boards and information signs will pop up in other locations both on and off campus in the future.

Fundraising Campaign Off to Strong Start

MTSU Centennial Campaign Announcement

We already have more than $55 million pledged, and because of our early success, the original campaign goal of $61 million was increased to $80 million.

Toward the end of our Centennial Celebration, we began to look to the future. In April, we held perhaps the most significant event of the year when we announced an $80 million fundraising effort: the Centennial Campaign. This effort, the largest in the University’s history, will help transform our institution and address strategic needs across all areas of our enterprise, and positively affect the entire MTSU family.

More importantly, the Centennial Campaign will ensure the University’s place among the nation’s top comprehensive universities, further raise our visibility nationally and internationally, and maintain MTSU’s legacy and heritage as a center of higher education excellence for the future.

This campaign has four distinct priorities, remarkable in their own right and vital to our success as an institution:

  • maintaining an exceptional student body
  • assuring the highest quality faculty and staff
  • fostering an innovative learning environment
  • competing at the highest levels athletically

The focus of each priority is to enhance the quality of education and assure the success of each of our students, faculty, and alumni—things that most directly affect the overall quality of the University.

Already, alumni and friends are responding to the campaign. We already have more than $55 million pledged, and because of our early success, the original campaign goal of $61 million was increased to $80 million.

The highlight of the campaign to date was the announcement in April of a $10 million commitment from 1966 MTSU grad Andrew W. “Woody” Miller. It is the

largest gift from an alumnus in the University’s history. That tremendous pledge, coupled with the with more than $8 million in private support raised last year (which once again exceeded our national peers by more than 40 percent), places us in a strong position moving forward.

But there is much remaining to do if we are to truly fulfill our potential.

In last year’s newsletter I wrote, “I hope you share my belief that development is not the sole responsibility of the Development Office.” The initial and ongoing success of the Centennial Campaign is proof of that.

Gifts come to us because of the relationships we build with each and every member of the University community.

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