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Oscar Mifsud's Campaign Speech

Oscar MifsudWell, with the presidential election drawing to a close, I am sure that by now most of you are tired of the word "campaign"! But tonight I am here to talk about a different kind of campaign - a very special campaign - one that I know you will be proud to participate in. I am of course talking about the Campaign for Ohio Northern University's Tomorrow.

Dr. Baker described to you in vivid terms why this campaign is so important, what we need to do, and what steps we need to take in the next decade for Ohio Northern University to reach national prominence. My job is to talk to you and others about how we plan on raising this money to reach these goals. Frankly, I am the money man, and this evening we are publicly launching our comprehensive campaign for Ohio Northern University. This campaign's primary focus is on our students and our academic programs. In this room this evening are many of the individuals who through their leadership will make this campaign a success - of course I am speaking about each of you. Lehr Society Members, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Members of the Board of Trustees and of course our Students.

Ohio Northern has a recent history of successful capital campaigns for facilities like the Dial-Roberson Stadium and the Hakes-Pierstorf Pharmacy Building. But today we undertake our most ambitious and most compelling campaign ever: a $100 million comprehensive campaign that addresses the needs of our university, in the areas of student aid, program enrichment, and facilities. These needs must be addressed in order for us to reach our goal of national prominence.

There are Four Key Objectives that have been set for this campaign that the monies raised will be used for:
1. Student Aid - in the form of new scholarships to support deserving students and to recruit a diverse national student body.
2. Program Enrichment- By increasing the number of faculty and supporting academic programs in order to expand Ohio Northern's reputation of excellence around the Nation and the world. This will allow us to develop signature programs in all colleges that are among the country's best. These programs will make Ohio Northern the Compelling Choice when students and families are deciding what University to attend.
3. Facilities - Continue to build and improve campus facilities in support of these goals.

...and last but not least in my mind
4. An ongoing Culture of Giving at Ohio Northern from alumni and friends; we need Thousands of Lehr Society Members not Hundreds.

This ambitious plan is going to take hard work, commitment, careful planning, and meticulous execution from everyone involved with this great institution. And it is going to take money, lots of money.

Now, most of you in this room already give on an annual basis to the university, and we sincerely thank you for that. But, what we will be asking you to do in the coming months during this campaign is to take a leadership role, to plan ahead for the future of this great university, our university, and to focus on these key campaign objectives that will take us to national prominence.

In the past year, I have talked and shared the vision of this campaign with many alumni, friends, colleagues, and fellow board members, and I believe the easiest way to talk about ways to give is in terms of what I call the TRIPLE CROWN. First: I ask you to continue to support the university every year with your annual gift to The Northern Fund at or above your current giving level. These gifts help pay for the day-to-day costs of providing students with all the elements of an outstanding education each year.

Second: Support one or more of the critical campaign components Program Enrichment, Student Aid or Capital projects with a cash gift or a pledge. There will be a multitude of programs and projects to choose from.

The third and final step in the Triple Crown is to include Ohio Northern in your estate plan. Include the university in your Will. Talk to your attorney, your financial advisor, or consult with the University's Planned Giving Director, Ken Block, about the ways that you can create a legacy at Ohio Northern University through your estate.

Our goal is to raise $100 million dollars to support this University. Our research tells us that we will be successful through the generosity of our alumni and friends. In these uncertain economic times, I believe there is one investment we can make that is sure to provide an exceptional return. That investment is in the future of the young people in the room tonight. Actually, would all of the students in the room please stand up? This is the future: the future of Northern, the future of our country and the future of our world.

This comprehensive campaign began its silent phase in June of 2006. We already have many people to thank as we close the silent phase of this campaign and enter the public phase.

First, I would like to thank Dr. Baker for his vision and the Board of Trustees for their work and support for this campaign, and for so many of the changes that you already see on campus today.

I would like to thank those in the audience who have already committed to the campaign. Thank You!

I would also like to highlight several key gifts that have been made towards this comprehensive campaign. Thanks to our Honorary Chairman Clay Mathile and his wife Mary Anne for their gift to build the Mathile Center for Natural Sciences. I would also like to thank the Dicke family for their generosity and support of the James F. Dicke College of Business Administration. Their gifts will make possible the expansion of programs and the addition of faculty to the college of business. Thank You Dr. Erv Pierstorf for your wisdom, kindness, generosity and your continued support for Ohio Northern. Thank you also to ONU faculty member and dear friend Terry Keiser and his wife Chris for providing a gift that will create two endowments at the university, one to support a faculty chair in Field Biology and the other to help students with international travel. You have also seen a number of other gifts highlighted on our screen tonight and we thank all of those people for supporting the Campaign for Ohio Northern University's Tomorrow.

And a Special Thanks to my fellow Board members--those who have already committed to the campaign have contributed in excess of $6 million so far.

It is due to the generosity of all of these people and all of you in this room that I am now able to announce the amount that has been raised so far for this comprehensive campaign: Ladies and gentlemen I am pleased to announce that we have raised a total of $ 65 million in gifts and commitments for this campaign

Before we view a video that has been specially produced for this evening I would like to share a few statistics and thoughts with you about our fellow alumni: There are 27,633 of us. We came from Ohio, all across America, from small towns and large cities, and from every corner of the world. Yes, we all came to live and learn at Northern, in the friendly welcoming village of Ada.

Today We are US Senators, Supreme Court Judges, Doctors and CEO's,---- We are Teachers, Pharmacists, Lawyers and Engineers,------ We are Christians, Jews and Muslims ---We are Scientists , Entrepreneurs, Artists and Airline Pilots--- We are Republicans, Democrats and Undecided's ---We are Moms, Dads, Grand Parents and Care Givers --- We are Farmers, Nurses, and Ministers--- and we are many, many other things but the one thing we all are is "Northern" PAUSE "We Are Northern" It is who we are; it is in our collective experience; it's in our DNA. "We Are Northern". We could not deny it if we wanted to and we do what we do for "The LOVE OF NORTHERN."

Clearly because of the success of our Alumni we have demonstrated that we are already on the road to national prominence. But as we think back, it all began in 1871 with the vision of our Founder Henry Solomon Lehr. Our campaign follows those footsteps for the future of our students and for the Love of Northern.