Utah State University set a new fundraising record this year, bringing in more than $110 million from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, a 137% increase over last year’s total of $46.8 million. This is the first time in its 134-year history that the university surpassed the $100 million fundraising mark.
Philanthropic foundations provided the greatest boost by giving more than $62.2 million — an increase of 339% over the previous year — thanks in large part to the Bastian family’s gift totaling more than $41 million to establish the Bastian Agricultural Center, the biggest single gift ever given to the university.
In a year still dealing with an ongoing global pandemic and a volatile financial market, donors rallied to support the institution with gifts from nearly 9,200 donors. The year brought 16 gifts totaling $1 million or more.
The success of the past year is largely due to the fact that Aggie supporters are extremely invested in the mission and vision of USU, according to Matt White, vice president for Advancement and president of the USU Foundation.
“The USU community came together to set a number of giving records, and we are thrilled to celebrate with those who will be impacted by this unprecedented investment,” White said. “The funds raised this past year create direct and positive outcomes for everyone at USU, as well as provide a solid foundation for the university’s continued momentum as we head into the launch of the ‘Create Your Aggie Impact’ fundraising campaign this November 4. We cannot thank our supporters enough.”
Growth in Scholarship and Academic Support
Thanks to the generosity of others, many students, faculty and programs received private support. A total of more than $3.6 million was given for endowed scholarships, supporting over 1,700 students. In another increase, 107 endowment agreements were created, up 23% from last year, with 92 endowments going toward scholarships, 11 toward programs, three to professorships and one for an endowed chair. The number of first-time endowment donors was 67, a 14% increase.
USU scholarship endowments allow the university to maintain its excellence in academics beyond what can be accomplished with funding from the state. Charitable donations from alumni, friends and family of the university are the primary source of funds for the endowments that are becoming increasingly critical as they provide the funds for scholarships, professorships and programs so vitally important to student and faculty recruitment and retention.
USU Computer Professor Vicki Allan has created three endowments at the university in honor of family members, including her late husband and father, and said she would encourage anyone who wants to make a lasting contribution to add to an existing endowment, or create one of their own.
“Creating scholarships to encourage students to pursue an education is such a great use of money and it brings me a lot of joy,” Allan said. “The students are working so hard and often go into debt.”
Another form of support for students comes from expendable scholarships, where giving increased 161% over last year, with more than $67.9 million provided to help over 9,000 students. A total of 43 expendable agreements were created with 37 focused on scholarships and six going toward programs.
USU alum Brooks Ogborn graduated in 2021 and is teaching math at Ridgeline High School in Cache Valley. In fall 2021, during his first few months of teaching, he worked with USU’s College of Science to create the Brooks Ogborn Student Teacher Rent Alleviation Program Scholarship. The expendable scholarship goes to a math student teacher who is close to graduation, has financial need and is struggling to pay rent.
Ogborn was thankful for the financial help he received in college and decided he wanted to help other future teachers.
“I was lucky,” Ogborn said. “I got a full-ride scholarship, another scholarship on top of that and my parents helped me pay rent. Without this assistance, I would have had to drop out of school for a year and work to save up money.”
The university’s Aggie Family Endowed Scholarship program also celebrated growth with a record 30 Aggie Family Endowed Scholarships created this year, an increase of 131% over the previous year. The Aggie Family Endowed Scholarship Program is a matching gift initiative that allows the impact of a gift to grow through the generosity of others. A $25,000 donation is matched dollar-for-dollar with an originating donor’s $25,000 to create an endowed scholarship. The scholarships become endowed (self-sustaining) after five years, and they are awarded each year from the investment income earned. This program enables motivated and qualified students to attend the university, regardless of their financial circumstances. Since the program began in 2018, $4.6 million has been raised and 67 Aggie Family Endowed Scholarships have been created.
Paul Maroof, who graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, came to USU from Iran as a first-generation student. In 1979, in New York, Paul met the love of his life, Nahid, who had also been a first-generation college student. The couple both enjoyed successful careers, Paul as an owner of a successful jewelry business based in New York, and Nahid as a dentist who eventually became a professor at New York University’s College of Dentistry.
Paul said the couple lived the American dream in both their lives and careers, which he credits in large part to their education. In 2021, he created an Aggie Family Scholarship in the couple’s name to honor Nahid, who died of cancer in 2018. The Paul and Nahid Maroof Aggie Family Scholarship is intended for Aggie First Scholars, a USU program that recognizes and develops success for first-generation students, just like the Maroofs.
Paul credits his USU education with opening his eyes, giving him a different way of looking at things and realizing his potential. By creating the scholarship, Paul is supporting students who are forging a new path, as he and Nahid once did.
“I hope that anyone who has the goal of attending college can turn it into reality and I am doing what I can to help,” Paul said.
As always, Aggies continue to show pride on the road with the Aggie License Plate Scholarship Program, which raised nearly $190,000. The number of Aggie license plates on the road now totals 7,500. Since 2019, the plate program has raised over $780,000 for student scholarships.
Increased Support From In-State and Out-of-State Donors
Utah State received donations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 27 counties within the state of Utah. The highest total amount within the state came from Davis County, with $44.4 million from nearly 600 donors, a significant jump from last year’s total of $2.7 million from about 500 donors. Coming in second is Salt Lake County, raising a total $25.2 million from nearly 900 donors, an increase in funds from the previous year’s $7.5 million. Rounding out the top three is Cache County, bringing in $9.8 million in gifts from 2,600 donors, also an increase from last year’s total of $8 million from over 2,200 donors.
Donors around the United States boosted out-of-state giving this year. The top three states for largest amount donated were Colorado, with $6.7 million; California, with $4.1 million; and Arizona, with $4 million.
USU President Noelle E. Cockett expressed her appreciation for university supporters who help position the institution for continued growth and advancement.
“Your generosity ensures we can move forward with confidence as we work to set a strategic course for the future that provides for student and faculty success, innovative discoveries and service opportunities that enhance the state of Utah and the world,” Cockett said.
Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.