When SUNY Buffalo State announced its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Transforming Lives: A Campaign for Buffalo State, in September 2012, following a one-year silent phase, the mission was to enhance the lives of students, support the faculty, and make the campus the best learning environment possible. The goal was to raise $20 million by June 2015.
Thanks to the hard work of many involved with Transforming Lives—including the extraordinary generosity of alumni and friends of the college—the goal already has been reached.
"We are extremely grateful to the many generous donors who have made the Transforming Lives campaign a success," said Buffalo State Interim President Howard Cohen. “Although we have surpassed our $20 million goal, there is still plenty of time to contribute to the campaign and make a profound difference in the lives of our students. We are very pleased that the campaign will have an even greater impact than we originally hoped."
Transforming Lives was designed to support five campus priorities: student scholarship support; enhancing the student experience; enhancing campus facilities; excellence in faculty teaching, research, and service; and the Fund for Buffalo State (annual fund).
"As the campaign continues with strong momentum, past and future donors can take pride in the fact that they are contributing to the largest and most successful fundraising effort in the history of the college," said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Susanne Bair. "Gifts received to date—and all gifts made in the next 16 months—will allow current and future Buffalo State students to engage in transformative educational experiences needed to thrive in the twenty-first century."
The achievement of meeting the goal early "speaks to the considerable efforts of the campaign co-chairs, James Brandys and Linda Dobmeier, and Buffalo State’s dedicated alumni, faculty, staff, and friends," Cohen said. "We are committed to ensuring that the transformative educational experiences offered at Buffalo State remain affordable to a diverse group of students, and this campaign supports that effort."
Although the original goal has been achieved, the campaign will continue through June 2015, particularly because only 75 percent of the $10 million goal for student scholarships has been met, a crucial piece of the campaign. At a time when state aid is dwindling and many families are facing financial strains, scholarships ensure that students from a range of backgrounds can afford a quality education.
"Students who have the opportunity to attend Buffalo State never know where their education will take them," said Dobmeier, ’71, campaign co-chair. "With the Transforming Lives campaign, we have the ability to fulfill the dreams of many students through scholarships that finance tuition, undergraduate research, and study abroad, among many other aspects of the student experience. I am so proud to be a part of this important campaign at Buffalo State.”
What has been funded thus far is impressive. Along with 24 new endowed scholarships, the campaign is funding eight non-endowed scholarships; a third endowed faculty chair; two new fellowships, the Statler School of Excellence, $1.5 million for the upcoming Alumni House/Visitor’s Center; $1 million for the proposed Ferguson Planetarium in the new Science and Mathematics Complex; and $402,0000 in scholarships for returning combat veterans.
Brandys, ’71, ’73, campaign co-chair, noted that when the college began Transforming Lives, it was predicted that the campaign would provide greater opportunities for students and strengthen Buffalo State’s academic quality.
"That prediction has come to fruition," he said. "Campaign gifts have funded numerous student scholarships and faculty chairs across academic disciplines, study abroad opportunities, classroom equipment, musical productions, and much more. Because of our campaign donors' generosity, Buffalo State is uniquely positioned to produce graduates who are well prepared to accept the challenges of the new economy."