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Questions & Answers

Now & Always / The Campaign for Ferris State University


Why is Ferris State University launching its first-ever comprehensive campaign now?

We have been focused on preparing for a comprehensive campaign for some time. We have seen the impact that record-setting gifts have had on Ferris State University, so it is a natural next step to continue to rally unprecedented levels of participation and support from our alumni, faculty and staff, friends and other key stakeholders.

What is a comprehensive campaign?

A comprehensive campaign is broader and more strategic than a capital campaign. Its financial goals include gifts of all types – annual, endowed, in-kind and planned gifts – that are designated for a variety of purposes including facilities, academic program support, faculty enrichment, student scholarships, athletics and other restricted purposes based on donor intent.

A comprehensive campaign transitions the University from normal day-to-day fundraising to a more intentional, inclusive and orchestrated effort. It mobilizes all areas of the University and its closest supporters who value the relevance of a Ferris education to focus on the advancement of the institution by securing historic levels of support that will transform the institution for many years to come.

What will a comprehensive campaign allow Ferris to achieve?

Ferris State University’s Now & Always comprehensive campaign reinforces the University’s strong tradition of opportunity and excellence and its impact on thousands of attendees and graduates during its 136-year history. The campaign ensures that the core value of “opportunity” is constant now and always and upholds Ferris’ prominence in delivering high quality, innovative education. It supports important priorities moving forward, including a critical need to help Ferris students reduce their college debt through enhanced scholarship support.

What are the campaign funding priorities?

All campaign funding priorities align with the strategic initiatives of the University and bring strategic focus and results to initiatives that are currently underway or in their infancy. There are three strategic areas of focus in the Now & Always case for support:

Investing in Students
Emphasizes Ferris’ goal of providing future students with permanent, reliable and predictable support through endowed scholarships. The Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge, which provides $3 million annually or $18 million total (through June 30, 2023) in matching funds for gifts toward new or existing endowments, provides an unprecedented opportunity for donors to double their support for Ferris students. Forty percent of Ferris students come from families whose income is less than $50,000 per year, making it quite difficult for them to afford a college education. Through scholarships, many Ferris students will have a chance to succeed – a chance they might not get elsewhere. The Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge will comprise a significant portion of the campaign effort for colleges and programs across the University.

Program Expansion and Innovation
Underscores the importance of supporting our faculty and students by providing state-of-the-art programs and facilities and creating opportunities for Ferris to be a trendsetter for innovation in higher education. Funding support is sought for key initiatives across all Ferris colleges and athletics. Campaign priorities include:

A new Center for Athletics Performance will serve as a state-of-the-art training facility for Ferris’ nationally ranked teams in football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, golf and tennis. It will include a new, larger weight room and much-needed additional locker rooms, team meeting spaces and coaches’ offices. It also will allow for the reconfiguration of the women’s volleyball arena, which will enable the University to host NCAA tournaments.

Renovation of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building will provide an enhanced learning experience for Ferris Pharmacy students featuring the most current, hands-on, and simulated learning environments. Another critical area of focus for the College of Pharmacy is increased scholarships to recruit and retain the nation’s best students and endowment support for faculty-led innovations to healthcare delivery and improved healthcare for our communities.

A Center for Academic Literacies will support a more holistic approach to helping students who are struggling academically by creating a facility that provides one-stop access to resources and faculty and staff expertise in reading, writing, mathematics and optometric services.

To continue and advance the important work of the Jim Crow Museum, the University is planning a project to build a new museum, archive, research, and education center on the Big Rapids campus. The project will improve the Jim Crow Museum’s capacity to expand its collection of artifacts documenting the characterization of African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The center will also provide an educational environment for humanities researchers, school groups, and other groups that will immerse learners and scholars within the history and narratives of the collections. This new facility will integrate scholarship related to social justice with collection, preservation, and documentation of racist objects.

Building Partnerships
Supports Ferris State University’s, Kendall College of Art and Design’s and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts’ active engagement throughout West Michigan with the arts, community development, design, diversity, economic development, education, entrepreneurship, healthcare, the Hispanic community and the manufacturing sector. Campaign priorities include:

A joint partnership with Grand Rapids neighborhood stakeholders to build a Center for the Community – Plaza Roosevelt – will serve as a community-driven facility with learning space for seminars, classes, and community workshops. Ferris’ intent is to provide healthcare outreach programs, including pharmacy, optometry and professional health services.

Enhanced opportunities to serve the Latino and Asian communities of West Michigan, particularly through such college-readiness summer programs as Advancemos and Promesa for middle and high school students and Ferris’ Latino Business and Economic Development Center serving up-and-coming community and business leaders through the Latino Talent Initiative and the Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.