Penn State raised $208 million in donations over the last fiscal year, the second-highest total in the university’s history. The money-raising total comes at a time when the university was struck by the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the firing of franchise coach Joe Paterno and then Paterno’s death shortly afterward his termination.
School officials announced that more alumni members are now donating to the university with more than 75,500 former students offering donations, a number that reverses more than two years of declines.
Speaking of the universities donation successes senior vice president for development and alumni relations Rob Kirsch said:
“We’re very grateful — humbled really — to have this kind of response from Penn Staters, who I think have rallied to the cause … by the side of the institution through a very difficult time.”
When non-alumni, corporations and other donors were included the number of donations rose to 191,000. Donations include cash, gifts for scholarships, increases in booster donations, money raised from school events and other activities.
The only year more successful for Penn State was 2010 when the university took in $274 million. 2010 catapulted the universities earnings thanks in large part to a single $88 million gift by energy magnate Terry Pegula. The $88 million donation was earmarked by Pegula to bring the school’s club hockey team to Division I and build an arena. Since that donation Pegula has increased his donation to $102 million.
In the meantime the university says it will not use any of the recently raised money to pay for more than $11.9 million in legal fees which were used for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Penn State hopes to raise $2 billion in its seven-year campaign that started in 2007, with the recent $208 million raised the university has already secured $1.6 billion.
Along with recent donations Penn State announced $223 million in new donation commitments, down from 37 percent over the prior year.
As Penn State continues to raise more money the university like other institutions has watched state funding decrease. State funding is used to off-set lower tuition costs for in-state students. To off-set declines in state funding university officials are preparing to vote on an increase in tuition rates.