CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the OSU Foundation on Friday launched Oregon State’s second university-wide fundraising campaign, Believe It: The Campaign for Oregon State University.
Donors have already committed more than $1 billion to the campaign that seeks to raise $1.75 billion to support OSU priority initiatives, including student access and success, faculty positions, academic programs, research, statewide community engagement programs, OSU Athletics and facilities on OSU’s Corvallis campus and OSU-Cascades campus in Bend.
The campaign is led by the OSU Foundation. It is planned to support the following university priorities: $460 million for student support, including scholarships, fellowships and experiential learning funds; $500 million for faculty positions and academic program support; $320 million for new facilities, renovations and equipment; $250 million for emerging strategic initiatives; and $220 million for programmatic support, including outreach and extension programs throughout Oregon and beyond.
The OSU Foundation hosted a campaign celebration Friday night. More than 500 donors, alumni, students, faculty and other stakeholders gathered on the university’s Corvallis campus Memorial Union Quad during Homecoming Weekend to formally mark the beginning of the public phase of the Believe it campaign and hear stories about what philanthropy and involvement with OSU can make possible.
“As Oregon’s public land grant university, OSU is ideally suited to serve Oregonians in all communities, and provide solutions to challenges that face the nation and world,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy. “The phenomenal support already provided to the Believe It campaign is a testament to Oregon State’s donors and their belief in the university’s ability to help transform the lives of learners of all ages and promote social, cultural and economic progress within Oregon and beyond.”
The university and the OSU Foundation began working on the Believe It campaign in 2017 with then-President Edward Ray, aligning campaign priorities with OSU’s Vision 2030 and Strategic Plan 4.0. Donors to date have created nearly 500 new scholarship, fellowship and student support funds, an increase of 26% since the campaign began.
“We concluded our first campaign in 2014 having raised $1.14 billion, but just as important, we created a catalyst for philanthropy at OSU,” said Shawn L. Scoville, the Oregon State University Foundation president and CEO. “We’re seeing the momentum of philanthropy within OSU in the $1 billion to date donors have committed in the Believe It campaign. Our donors have stepped forward with more than 1,100 commitments of $100,000 or more, and we’ve received more gifts of $1 million or more in the first phase of this campaign than we did in the university’s entire last fundraising campaign. I am grateful to all our donors, volunteers and supporters who believe in OSU’s mission and have helped us reach this milestone.
“This campaign also seeks to grow and deepen alumni and other supporters’ involvement in ways that advance student success and a sense of belonging to the larger OSU community of 200,000-plus alumni and 300,000 parents and friends all over the world,” Scoville said. “Volunteers recruited through the campaign, for example, will serve as career mentors for students and recent graduates and help alumni to become advocates for the university.”
At the campaign launch event, OSU announced plans for a new $200 million, 150,000-square-foot advanced research and education facility that will be named the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex. The naming is in recognition of the couple’s $50 million gift to support the complex. Jen-Hsun Huang is the founder and CEO of NVIDIA, and he and his spouse, Lori, met at Oregon State and are OSU graduates.
A total of $100 million in private gifts has been committed to the center that will harness one of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers and team-based research in artificial intelligence, materials science and robotics to solve global challenges in areas such as climate science, oceanography, sustainability and water resources.
The center will employ a NVIDIA supercomputer to support faculty in addressing highly complex and challenging computational problems. The OSU supercomputer – powered by next-generation NVIDIA CPUs, GPUs and networking – is expected to be among the world’s fastest university supercomputers, powerful enough to train the largest AI models and perform complex digital twin simulations. The complex will also have a state-of-the-art clean room and other specialized research facilities.
“We discovered our love for computer science and engineering at OSU. We hope this gift will help inspire future generations of students also to fall in love with technology and its capacity to change the world,” the Huangs said.
“AI is the most transformative technology of our time,” they added. “To harness this force, engineering students need access to a supercomputer, a time machine, to accelerate their research. This new AI supercomputer will enable OSU students and researchers to make very important advances in climate science, oceanography, materials science, robotics and other fields.”
The university also announced that a 49,000-square-foot arts and education complex under construction on the Corvallis campus will be called the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts. The naming is in recognition of Reser’s previously anonymous $25 million gift for the facility. Scheduled to open in spring 2024, the facility will serve as a statewide portal to the arts and support the university’s historically unique STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education opportunities. Reser has given $36 million to supports arts education and programs at OSU.
“I believe for OSU to reach its full potential as a world-leading, problem-solving, path-finding, change-making university – the university of the future – we must have a thriving College of Liberal Arts. We must have arts that flourish and speak with academics and research,” Reser said. “When faculty and students engage in the arts, they expand their ability to find new solutions to problems of every kind. We must nurture our greatest natural resource: human creativity.”
Another significant facility project underway on OSU’s Corvallis campus is work to complete Reser Stadium. Along with an anonymous $50 million lead gift made in 2021, 20 donors have given a total of $91.6 million for the $160.5 million Completing Reser Stadium project.
The Believe It campaign is guided by a steering committee of 12 alumni, donors and volunteers, and is co-chaired by alumni Ruth Beyer, College of Liberal Arts, ’77; Jon DeVaan, College of Engineering, ’85; and John Stirek, College of Business, ’82.
More than 56,000 people have made a gift to the campaign so far.
“We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Patricia Valian Reser, Lori and Jen-Hsun Huang, and every single donor giving at any scale to advance excellence and student success at Oregon State,” said Beyer, DeVaan and Stirek in a statement about the launch. “The Believe It campaign is about supporting the world-changing solutions that Oregon State University delivers through its teaching, research and engagement programs. OSU’s donors, volunteers, alumni, parents and friends are showing the world what they believe in: the power of Oregon State providing knowledge and innovation to better Oregon and change the world.”
For more information on Believe It: The Campaign for Oregon State University, please visit OSUBelieveIt.org.
About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 35,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.