In fall 1980, Missouri State University established the Missouri State University Foundation to help raise more private funds.
This was a crucial need as state funding was no longer enough to cover all the university’s operational costs.
Making growth and development possible
A private organization, the MSU Foundation kicked off operations on Jan. 13, 1981, forever changing how people could give and support Missouri State. Since then, its staff members have raised more than $348 million for the university.
The money has gone to student scholarships, faculty endowments, building projects, athletics needs and other campus improvements and programs.
“The money we receive is crucial to the development of the university,” said MSU Foundation Executive Director Brent Dunn. “We’re grateful for the continued support and use it to better the MSU experience for everyone who comes through our campus.”
Generous alumni and friends
The MSU Foundation’s success is due to its thousands of supporters. They’ve enabled the foundation to go from raising $376,000 in 1981 to more than $22 million in 2020.
Several of them have donated every year for 40 years. The foundation hosted a special lunch to honor these dedicated donors.
“The entire Missouri State community is better for the support of these generous individuals, foundations and organizations,” said MSU President Clif Smart. “I’m gratified to see the giving spirit.”
A few highlights
Among the foundation’s achievements over the years include:
- Held four capital campaigns, including the most recent “Onward, Upward: The Campaign for Missouri State.”
- Dedicated Baker Observatory, named for William G. and Retha Stone Baker, who donated the land.
- Contribution from the Bakers established university’s first endowed academic chair.
- Completed Glass Hall, Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts and Strong Hall.
- Received seven-figure gifts for the Darr Agricultural Center and Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development.
- John Q. Hammons made $30 million gift commitment for JQH Arena, the largest single gift in foundation’s history.
- Businessman Leo Journagan and his family donated Journagan Ranch, the second-largest single gift in foundation’s history.
- Gifts that led to naming of: Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center; McQueary Family Health Sciences Hall; recreational facilities around campus in honor of Bobby and Betty Allison; Davis-Harrington Welcome Center; McQueary College of Health and Human Services; Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters; and Ann Kampeter Health Sciences Hall.
- Gift from Robert Gourley family funded expansion of Glass Hall, including addition of the Robert Gourley Student Success Center.
- Gift established The Kindrick Family Farm at Missouri State University, an 80-acre farm for crop production.
- Gift renamed upgraded health center on campus to Bill and Lucille Magers Family Health and Wellness Center.
- Donors made possible multimillion-dollar expansion project of Greenwood Laboratory School in celebration of its 110th anniversary.