BGSU capital campaign for $200M gets rolling … quietly


A year after plans for a new capital campaign for Bowling Green State University were announced, the
silent phase of fundraising continues.
Shea McGrew, the vice president for University Advancement and president and chief executive officer of
the BGSU Foundation, gave the Bowling Green State University trustees an update Friday on the campaign’s
The goal has not been announced, but that doesn’t mean the university hasn’t been beating the bushes,
looking for those deep pockets to provide the big donations needed to formally launch the campaign.
McGrew said that the plan is to have about 50 percent of the projected goal in hand, before announcing
what that goal is.
The "working goal," he said, is a six-year campaign to raise about $200 million. The campaign
would run until the end of June, 2020.
In the first year the university has raised $48.3 million. "That puts us ahead of pace," McGrew
That amount includes more than $10 million given by the late Bill Frack to the basketball program, but it
also includes other donations, McGrew said.
One of the Golden Eagles, graduates from 50 or more years ago, brought back to campus this spring made a
$360,000 donation toward scholarships. An entrepreneur who graduated in computer science in the 1980s
has promised $175,000 for scholarships for math education, with more to come.
At this phase, McGrew said, the foundation looks at a limited group of graduates, friends, foundations
and corporations who can make significant gifts.
How well this early phase goes, he said, will determine the success of the campaign.
Still, he said, there may be major donors out there who may be discovered later in the campaign.
Scholarships will be a major focus for the money raised.
Also, McGrew said, the university is aiming to increase the number of named faculty positions. When he
arrived in 2013, the university only had 13. While that has increased, he said, he sees no reason it
couldn’t be 80 by the end of the campaign. It requires a donation of $300,000 to $2 million to endow a
professorship or department chair.
Also, the university is seeking to reach donors who wish to have their names on buildings or programs.

President Mary Ellen Mazey, referring to South, West and East halls, has quipped that BGSU has to quit
naming buildings after directions.
The university is behind its peers in fundraising, McGrew said. This is only the second major fundraising
campaign. "Our endowment is not keeping pace with that of our competitors," McGrew said.
"There has not been as much an emphasis on endowment fundraising as there will be going
The campaign aims to development "a culture of philanthropy" among its graduates, as well as
foster planned giving in which people donate through their estates.
McGrew emphasized that gifts of all sizes are important. "Even smaller gifts are important," he
In its popular ranking of colleges, Newsweek factors in the percentage of graduates who donate to their
alma mater.
Developing that culture of philanthropy means that part of this nascent campaign is "to set up the
next one." That could be for as much as $500 million.

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