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May 31, 2012

Ohio Northern University exceeds goal in most successful fundraising campaign in University history

Ohio Northern University President Dan DiBiasio announced on Friday, June 1, the conclusion of The Campaign for Ohio Northern University’s Tomorrow, which raised $110,658,961, exceeding the goal of $100 million and making it the most successful campaign in Ohio Northern’s history.

The public phase of The Campaign for Ohio Northern University’s Tomorrow launched in fall 2008, at the beginning of the nation’s slide into a historic recession. “To be sure, it is always a great achievement whenever an ambitious goal can be met and exceeded,” DiBiasio said. “But to accomplish our task at a time when other colleges and universities delayed, deferred and even discontinued their campaigns makes our success even more spectacular.”

The goal was to raise $100 million by the end of May 2012, but by early April 2012, ONU already had successfully reached its mark and forged ahead to exceed the high benchmark set in 2006 when the silent phase of the campaign first began.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that our campaign was so successful in one of the most challenging times in our economy’s history,” said John Bishop, a 1972 ONU graduate and chairman of the ONU Board of Trustees. “They’ve been calling this period ‘the Great Recession,’ and for us to achieve the kind of results we did is no small measure.” Bishop is chairman, president and CEO of Motorists Insurance Group and a resident of Powell, Ohio.

Campaign leaders and the ONU administration were extremely pleased with the response from members of the ONU community and praised the accomplishments of the comprehensive campaign, which has brought a renewed energy to campus.

Oscar Mifsud, a 1970 ONU graduate who served as the national campaign chairman, said, “I think one of the greatest successes we’ve had in this campaign, aside from the financial resource we were able to raise, is this creation of a culture of giving. ONU founder H.S. Lehr’s vision of a student-centered university is what truly gave us the courage and the confidence that our campaign would be successful. Our campaign was always about our students and for the love of Northern.” Mifsud is president and CEO of The Mifsud Group and a resident of Wadsworth, Ohio.

The campaign focused primarily on four areas: enriching the University’s academic programming, increasing student aid, improving the living-learning environment with new capital projects, and strengthening the annual support for The Northern Fund.

More than 21,000 alumni, donors and friends (nearly half of whom were first-time donors) committed support to the campaign. Overall, through the generosity of the ONU community, the campaign established 107 individually endowed funds that will begin to add more than $47 million to the University’s endowment. A robust endowment is critical for the long-term health of a university because it allows the institution to adapt to the changing environment of higher education.

Campaign contributions also have been critical to the University’s ongoing campus-improvement efforts. Already, indicators can be seen throughout campus with the additions of the Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences, the Hanson Reading Room and the Pharmacy Skills Center. The campaign also raised the University’s intellectual capital by bringing national speakers to campus through such avenues as the Keiser Distinguished Lectureship in the Life Sciences.

“The successful conclusion to this campaign matters the most to our students,” said DiBiasio. “They come here to discover their innate talents, explore their interests, and develop new insights into themselves and the world that we share.”

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