With Passion & Purpose: The Campaign for SUNY Oswego raised a total of $43,483,781, surpassing its most ambitious goal in college history by $3.48 million. This is the largest completed campaign among all SUNY comprehensive colleges, and the total is nearly double Oswego’s last campaign, which raised $23.8 million. 

“Oswego has never been as strong as it is today. We are tremendously proud of what has been accomplished through this campaign, With Passion & Purpose,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “We are grateful to the generous support of more than 16,000 donors representing alumni, employees, students, parents and friends who helped us surpass our historic goal. Their support is having a direct impact on the lives of our students and in the vibrancy of the communities where our graduates live and work.

“We stayed true to our enterprising spirit to build an endowment that invigorates our intellectual environment, and that increases and diversifies scholarship funds, experiential learning opportunities and student success programs,” she said.

Most significantly, the success of the campaign has enabled the endowment to grow 163 percent from $11.5 million in 2011 to $30.3 million as of August 2016, adding financial stability and a predictable source of revenue that helps the college plan and build programs.

“Congratulations to President Stanley and the SUNY Oswego community on one of the most successful capital campaigns in SUNY history,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Donors and alumni who contributed to the campaign recognize the top educational quality SUNY Oswego offers students, and have expressed confidence in the college’s leadership, faculty and staff to continue delivering a high standard of excellence. This milestone achievement is much deserved.”

Over the five-year campaign, the college awarded nearly $3.1 million in privately funded merit- and needs-based scholarships, including 76 newly established funds, to 1,819 students, an important accomplishment that aims to help keep college affordable and within reach for deserving students.

The Oswego College Foundation, comprised of alumni representatives, has stewarded a growing endowment exceptionally well, and the endowment’s 10-year rate of return of 7.9 percent exceeded the 7.2 percent rate of Oswego’s aspirational group—universities with endowments over $1 billion—and the industry average of 6.3 percent, according to the January 2016 NACUBO Report. This long-term rate of return is a key factor determining how much money the Oswego College Foundation will pay out for its more than 350 privately endowed scholarships.

The college raised funds for two main priorities: invigorating its intellectual climate through faculty and equipment support, which brought in approximately $19 million or 109 percent of the goal, and increasing student access, experience and success through scholarships and support programs, which produced more than $24 million or 110 percent of the goal.

Since the last campaign, the Sheldon Legacy Society more than doubled in size to 158 people who have designated gifts to the college in their estate plans. True to the notion that “every gift counts” and makes a difference, approximately 96 percent of all gifts were under $1,000. Nearly half of those gifts came in through the work of 31 SUNY Oswego students who work in the Telefund Office on behalf of The Fund for Oswego.

“With Passion & Purpose: The Campaign for Oswego captured the attention of our entire college community,” President Stanley said. “We are invigorated by the outpouring of magnificent support from our alumni across the country, many of whom returned to campus to share their experience with our students, to volunteer on academic advisory boards or to serve as student mentors. Through their generosity, we are amassing the talents and necessary resources to transform lives and inspire our graduates to achieve their greatest dreams.”

About the campaign

In 2011, SUNY Oswego embarked on a historic journey to raise $40 million, the largest fundraising initiative by any SUNY comprehensive college to grow its endowment, scholarship opportunities and sustain day-to-day excellence through unrestricted and annual gifts to The Fund for Oswego.

The so-called campaign “quiet phase” made quite a bit of noise with the announcement of three seven-figure gifts, each making history: an anonymous $5 million bequest intention; a $5 million cash gift from Richard S. Shineman Foundation and Dr. Barbara Palmer Shineman—who earned both her bachelor’s in childhood education in 1965 and master’s in reading education 1971 from Oswego—to create an endowed chair of chemistry and an endowed cultural and educational fund; followed by the $7.5 million gift from the estate of Lorraine E. and Nunzio “Nick” Marano that will yield nearly $300,000 a year for student scholarships. 

The public launch of the campaign on Oct. 16, 2014, drew national attention, beginning with the live on-campus broadcast of The Weather Channel’s “Wake Up With Al” and NBC’s “Today” show, featuring media icon and 1976 graduate Al Roker; then moving into the 10th Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit with a panel of five media all-stars including Charlie Rose, who also received an honorary degree; and finishing out with “The Tomorrow Show,” a live student-produced WTOP broadcast of Oswego’s student and faculty accomplishments, co-anchored by President Deborah F. Stanley and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” anchor and 1987 graduate Steve Levy.

Complete coverage of the campaign and its impact on the college community can be found online at oswego.edu/campaign.

PHOTO CAPTION: Campaign supports students—Rebecca Howe, a May 2016 public relations graduate, is one of the thousands of students who benefited from With Passion & Purpose: The Campaign for SUNY Oswego, the college’s recently concluded campaign that raised $43,483,781. The Corning native said she tried to take advantage of every opportunity that Oswego offered, including many made possible through support from The Fund for Oswego.