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UMM launches $21 million campaign

The University of Minnesota Morris wants to raise $21 million in donations over the next four years in a capital campaign that launched publicly on Friday, Sept. 8. The campaign will run until 2021.

UMM's chief development officer Susan Schmidgall said the campaign is a "great opportunity to do additional marketing on what private giving can do."

Schmidgall and UMM chancellor Michelle Behr said private giving helps the university continue its mission to educate students and provide opportunities for the students and faculty to impact the community.

The campaign has four priorities: Providing scholarships and engagement opportunities for students; endowing professorships; expanding and improving facilities to support student learning, faculty research and regional outreach; investing in the EcoStation and other initiatives supporting education, research and preservation in the region.

The campaign is a large project and prompted the expansion of the UMM development office to three staff members. Schmidgall said it's the largest staff ever in the development office.

The campaign also comes in Behr's first year as chancellor. Behr, along with the development staff, will have an integral role as she meets with alumni and other potential donors.

One of her goals is to match the passion of potential donors with a role that fits at UMM, Behr said. "I hope to convey the sense of possibilities at the university," Behr said.

UMM's campaign is a piece of an overall University of Minnesota campaign launched on the same day. That campaign is called Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign. Within that campaign is UMM's focus to distinguish itself as a model for living and learning.

Schmidgall pointed out what she called a good example of how a donation to UMM can help fulfill the focus on a model for living and learning.

The university recently developed an EcoStation near Ashby. The area is being used for sustainability and other research by students and faculty, Schmidgall said. The EcoStation also covers the four priorities of the fundraising campaign, Schmidgall said.

Behr and Schmidgall said the campaign should create energy and interest throughout the immediate community and region as the university shares the story of UMM. A spring campaign event is planned but fundraising will happen throughout the fall and winter.