Friends of Sam Houston State University were in a giving mood during the recent holiday season.

Dion McInnis, executive director of University Relations and Development, said that the University received $498,000 in cash and a commitment from a bequest expected to amount to approximately $250,000 in December.

Among major gifts received were contributions to the Ferol Robinson Endowed Scholarship for Tomorrow's Scholars, the Dan Reeves Scholarship in Mathematics, the Medford/Schmolder Distinguished Lecturer Program, the Mattie B. Medford Endowed Scholarship, the Ernestine Carroll and Ouida Carroll Endowment, the Robert McAdams Endowed Scholarship, the Gibson D. "Gib" Lewis Endowed Scholarship in Business, the Dan Rather/Horatio Alger Endowed Scholarship, the Hoops for Scholars Endowment, and the Touchdown '96-Kat Pack Football Endowment.

University areas which benefited included criminal justice, business, education, the arts and sciences, athletics, student services, and general scholarships.

"Our success was a combination of volunteer solicitation, planned giving efforts, prospecting for new donors, and reminders to existing donors," said McInnis.

McInnis attributed the response to support for Dr. Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston president, who identified fund-raising as one of three key areas of emphasis for his administration, and to efforts by University fund-raisers and volunteers.

"The State of Texas gives us sufficient funds to operate quality programs, and we are grateful for that level of funding," said Marks in his investiture remarks.

"But we cannot reach the level of excellence to which all of us at Sam Houston State University aspire without the help of our private partners in education--those individuals, companies, and foundations who entrust us with monetary gifts to help us achieve our educational goals."

McInnis said that in December his office contacted by mail approximately 1,200 past and potential donors and friends. They received a letter from Marks and a brochure asking their consideration of SHSU in gift-giving and tax-based year end giving.

"We are not sure of the exact cause and effect of the mailing," said McInnis, "but there is a relationship and a building process."

McInnis said that fund-raising is a team effort requiring the help of many volunteers.

"Development requires participation of all types of stakeholders," he said. "Volunteers to help make calls and contacts, current and retired faculty to help bridge to our alumni and business friends, and current donors who maintain and expand their participation.

"These efforts, enhanced by university programs in alumni relations and public relations, create not only successes, but momentum, too. It is important to keep fueling that momentum."

McInnis said that the Kat Pack's volunteer-driven initiative to raise $100,000 for a football endowment is a "tip-of-the-iceberg" example of what motivated volunteers can do.

"The assistance of volunteers in all aspects of institutional advancement is appreciated, needed and critical to future advancement efforts," he said. "The door is always open to those who want to help."


Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak

Jan. 24, 1997