“Bold and Blue” campaign raises $604 million!

April 26, 2024

BROOKINGS, S.D.–South Dakota State University surpassed its half-billion-dollar Bold & Blue fundraising goal, announcing more than 604 million dollars in gifts and pledges had been received from nearly 31,000 different donors.

University and campaign leadership made the fundraising total announcement at a Thursday night celebration at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

Bold & Blue reached its $500 million goal last September, adding another $100 million in the last seven months. Donors provided $43.8 million in gifts and pledges in the final 22 days of the campaign.

SDSU’s first comprehensive campaign, “Visions for the Future,” raised $50 million from 1994 to 1998. The second, “It Starts with STATE,” raised $255 million between 2007 and 2013.

Referencing his involvement with all three campaigns and other major initiatives at SDSU, campaign co-chair Dana Dykhouse said, “Jackrabbits always exceed expectations. There’s something about being a Jackrabbit. We don’t give up; we don’t stop.”

“This success is possible because SDSU, academics and athletics, the SDSU Foundation and the Alumni Association are sharing a vision to work together to make dreams come true,” SDSU President Barry Dunn said. “The energy and relationships created during Bold & Blue will be drivers for the investments that will be made in the next 20 years and beyond.”

The campaign was developed heavily around people-centered initiatives, with a particular emphasis on scholarships and endowments.

Scholarships accounted for one-third of the campaign total, addressing renewed support for students. The efforts of Bold & Blue more than doubled scholarship offerings that were available at the start of the campaign in 2017.

Another significant area of growth in the Bold & Blue campaign was endowed support for university leaders, faculty and researchers. Endowments are gifts that are invested, with an annual distribution used to ensure the fund exists in perpetuity. These sustainable funding sources accounted for 54% of campaign commitments.

At the start of Bold & Blue, SDSU had commitments in place for 13 endowed positions. That has grown to 58, including endowed deans, directors and chairs. In fact, commitments for endowments grew to such a degree that the SDSU Foundation implemented a new event to recognize both donors for the funding and holders of the endowed positions. As a result, the University Leadership Honors ceremony, a collective investiture, is held annually each fall.

The campaign also addressed the university’s facility needs, with the construction of the American Indian Student Center and the Raven Precision Agriculture Center as signature capital projects funded during the campaign. The largest project is the renovation of the 50-year-old Frost Arena to First Bank & Trust Arena. The bank provided the lead gift of $20 million for the project.