LU News Archive

Campaign raises $132 million

Lamar University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign has surpassed its goal by raising more than $132 million, officials announced today.

“Gifts from thousands of loyal Cardinals and friends contributed to this historic campaign,” said Camille Mouton, the university’s vice president for advancement. “This campaign will allow Lamar University to take transformational strides toward a bigger, brighter future.”

Chart Where Gifts WorkingMembers of the campaign cabinet and Spindletop Society, donors of $1 million or more, joined in a celebration of the successful campaign. Of the total raised, $72 million is for academic support, $40 million for scholarships, and $20 million for athletics.

Seven years ago, with a desire to ensure a superior university experience for generations to come, dedicated alumni and friends formed a campaign cabinet and joined with President Emeritus James Simmons, the LU Foundation and a talented advancement staff led by Mouton to launch the campaign.

The campaign launch took place in March 2006 with an original goal of raising $50 million. At the end of the silent phase of the campaign in May 2008, the goal was raised to $100 million.  In January 2012, the campaign cabinet raised the goal once again to $125 million in response to the enthusiasm among donors on the future of Lamar University. The campaign was seeing incredible success despite an uncertain economy, Mouton said.

“When the campaign began, it would have been hard for anyone to imagine the response. We flew past the original goal and have surpassed the final goal by a significant amount,” Mouton said.

Remarkably, 70 percent of Lamar employees - easily the highest percentage of participation at any university - made their own philanthropic investment in the future of Lamar, Mouton said. That pride extended to alumni and friends, as well as corporations and foundations throughout Texas. Nearly half, 46 percent, of gifts in the campaign came from beyond Southeast Texas. During the campaign, 34,193 gifts were made.

Chart Who Gave“Nearly half of the campaign gifts came from Lamar alumni and that’s good,” said Greg Thompson of Beaumont, who served as a campaign co-chair. “But it is also very impressive that nearly a fifth came from friends of the university, individuals who have come to cherish Lamar University. The balance of the gifts came from corporations and foundations that recognized the impact they could have on the future by supporting our university.”

“The success at Lamar is even more remarkable given the extremely small staff that made it happen,” said Kathy Costello, who gave valuable counsel as a consultant to the campaign. “This limited staff, and a remarkable group of volunteers on the foundation board and campaign cabinet, has done something I have never seen accomplished by so few, yet done so well.”

“I also compliment the integrity and true philanthropic spirit exhibited by all of the donors. It is amazing that Lamar only had to write off .06 percent of pledges where the norm is 1 to 4 percent,” Costello said. “That is a clear indicator of the loyalty of Lamar’s donors. A more generous and giving group could not be found: a tribute to leadership at Lamar and the quality of the people.”

Chart Where Gifts Came FromHonorary Campaign Chair Elvis Mason of Dallas said “I have been both surprised and grateful for the tremendous outpouring of financial support for Lamar from across the nation. This response from beyond the region shows the respect the university holds among alumni and friends who have not forgotten their alma mater.”

As a result of the campaign, the lives of Lamar’s students are being transformed through enhanced campus life, new study and research opportunities, energized and engaged faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities, laboratories and equipment.

As a direct result of the campaign, Lamar has four named departments - the JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing, the Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering, the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music.

More than $40 million has been raised in scholarship endowments, including support for the highly successful Mirabeau Presidential Scholars program, the Valero Scholarship in Engineering, the Legends of Southeast Texas Scholarships, the Larry and Cynthia Norwood Chemical Engineering Scholarship, the Gena and Albert E. Reaud Scholarship, the Jerry Rudd Memorial Scholarship, the Orange Memorial Hospital Corporation Scholarship, the Garrett Scholars, and the DeWayne Layfield-Texas State University System Foundation Scholarship.

During the campaign 246 new privately funded scholarship endowments, ranging from $15,000 to $2.5 million, were established, bringing the total number of privately funded scholarships to 601.

Gifts totaling $72 million have been committed to faculty and academic support, including the establishment of many faculty enhancement/innovation funds, the Reese Construction Management Program, the David J. Beck Fellowships, the Steinhagen Global Fellows, the Ben Rogers Chair in Business, the Leland Best Innovation Fund in Education, the Byron and Connie Dyer Geosciences Innovation Fund, the Larry Lawson Research Fund in Electrical Engineering, the Don and Mary Ann Lyle Endowment in Engineering, and the Bart and Martye Simmons Endowment in Business.

Contributions totaling $20 million toward athletics enabled the return of football and benefitted LU’s athletics programs through improvements in facilities, including the Vernon Glass Field of Champions, Provost Umphrey Stadium, the Dan F. and Sandra A. Smith Press Box, the Morgan Suites, W.S. “Bud” Leonard Field, the Education First Federal Credit Union scoreboard, the Beaumont Bone and Joint Sports Medicine Facility, the John Payton Academic Success Center, the Emma and H.D. “Tex” Strait Baseball Training Center and the Thompson Family Tennis Center.

The campaign has helped Lamar renovate existing facilities, like the Herman Iles Building, and build entirely new ones like the Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center, the Charles and Eleanor Garrett Engineering Center and the Dauphin Athletic Complex.

“There is no better place to make a difference in our world than through higher education,” Simmons said. “Through the campaign, those who love Lamar were able to create personal legacies.  Their transformational gifts will impact the lives of students for generations to come.”

Campaign Co-Chair Mike Aldredge of Bellville said “One of the enduring successes of the campaign is the $36 million in gifts that will be realized in the future. These deferred gifts, the result of decisions today, will continue to make a difference at Lamar for decades to come.”

Campaign LogoEvery day the university sees the impact of the gifts received through the campaign, Mouton said.

“From the smallest to the largest gift, each person’s generosity has helped us build a better campus and enrich the lives of our students,” Mouton said. “We are a far stronger university today and are positioned for even greater accomplishments because of the campaign.”

“The outstanding success of Lamar’s inaugural campaign is a testament to strong leadership and the dedication of alumni and friends,” President Ken Evans said. “That legacy is an incredible foundation to build on as we look to the future of our great university.”

Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall said “The tremendous success of Lamar University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign illustrates the broad base of support of its alumni and friends as well as the participation of corporations and foundations.

“Lamar has experienced a period of growth and development and through this campaign is positioned for even greater accomplishment.” McCall said. “This campaign has created an opportunity for many donors to create a personal legacy that will help Lamar invent its future. These are exciting times for Lamar University and Southeast Texas.”