Changing Lives for the World

More than 350 guests attended the premiere of Bowling Green State University’s Changing Lives for the World comprehensive campaign Oct. 13. The special event highlighted four campaign priorities: scholarships to support students in all majors, endowed faculty and staff positions to recruit and retain outstanding educators and coaches, creating state-of-the-art facilities, and named academic programs and units.

“Bowling Green State University embraces its responsibility to advance society through innovative education,” said President Mary Ellen Mazey. “This campaign will allow us to continue our heritage of excellence, access and affordability. Now is the time to build the future of this great University.”

More than $110 million has been raised as of Oct. 13 for the comprehensive campaign, which has a goal of $200 million. Nearly 14,000 individuals made outright gifts, new pledges, gifts-in-kind and new planned gifts in 2016-17.

Held in the newly renovated University Hall, the premiere included inspirational stories from students, faculty and alumni who are changing lives for the world; tours of the renovated University Hall and Moseley Hall; and musical entertainment.

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Campaign committee co-chair and 1984 BGSU alumnus Larry Benz gave a welcome, and remarks were made by Mazey, campaign committee member and 1975 alumnus Paul Hooker, political science/pre-law student Meg Burrell and political science student Jauntez Bates.

“This University helped me in so many ways,” Benz said. “Every so often, I take a minute to reflect on my time at BGSU and to appreciate how the University prepared me for the challenges and opportunities that have been presented to me.”

Jim Bailey ‘67 serves as co-chair of the campaign committee, alongside Benz. Shantanu ‘86, ‘11 (Hon.) and Reni ‘86 Narayen and Bob ‘58, ‘13 (Hon.) and Linda Sebo are honorary co-chairs. Committee members are Linda Forte ‘74, John Harbal ‘72, Hooker, Mike Marsh ‘76, Lee Meserve, Marge Meserve ‘94, Bruce Misamore ‘72, ‘73, Amy Shore ‘86, Linda Watters ‘75, Mike Wilcox ‘75 and Max Williamson ‘60.

During the event, Benz and Hooker both announced additional support of the University. Benz announced a gift of a professorship for the College of Health and Human Services and Hooker intends to name one of the academic centers in the College of Business.

Investment in new and renovated facilities is essential to creating campuses that are welcoming and provide the best resources for teaching and learning. From creating technology-friendly classrooms and cutting-edge buildings to premier athletic and recreational facilities, private philanthropy is central to building campuses of excellence, according to Mazey.

The event called attention not only to the achievements of students and alumni, but also the needs of the campus to continue to guarantee the success of our students and how donors can support those initiatives.

Helping BGSU students succeed takes many forms, not the least of which is financial support. In the face of changing student demographics, declining family incomes and strained state budgets, private support is paramount.

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Scholarships funded through donors are increasingly important to our students and their families. Bridge to BGSU Scholarships can make the difference between a student finishing college and leaving for financial reasons. These scholarships of $1,000 to $3,000 help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and a familily’s resources. Merit Scholarships are provided to academically outstanding students and allows the University to compete for those who are exceptionally talented and motivated, while Graduate Fellowships allow BGSU to provide competitive financial packages to recruit outstanding graduate students who play a critical role in research, as teachers and as mentors. Athletic Scholarships reward outstanding student-athletes for their hard work and dedication — and allows the University to increase the competitiveness of its sports teams — by providing the financial resources necessary to build champions for life.

To change the lives of its students, BGSU needs dedicated and passionate teachers and staff who inspire them in the pursuit of knowledge and excellence. Those faculty and campus leaders have many positions to choose from at state and private universities, as well as leading businesses and government organizations. Private support is needed to recruit and retain those individuals through endowed professorships and chairs, endowed coaching and leadership positions, and endowed visiting lecturers and series.

Another critical component to the BGSU community is a robust and continually improving physical campus. The quality of academic, research, athletic and recreational facilities sets the tone for institutional excellence, but requires ongoing capital investments that surpass the resources the state of Ohio can provide. The key areas of the master plan include the College of Business building, the Traditions Buildings of Moseley Hall, University Hall, the future home of the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center (currently Hannah Hall), the Michael & Sara Kuhlin Center (formerly South Hall), enhanced academic and student services buildings, new and renovated residential and recreational buildings, and a stadium renovation and enhanced athletic venues. Private support will provide the measure of difference for the University’s campus master plan.

Another way to invest in BGSU’s success is through named colleges, schools and programs to strengthen academic programs across all disciplines while providing resources in emerging fields of study. These gifts raise the profile of the University, allowing it to attract the highest caliber teachers, researchers and students.

With donor support, the Changing Lives for the World campaign will impact all of the University’s students by providing scholarships, boosting social mobility and making sure they have access to engaged faculty and high-quality academic programming.