A big number: Indiana State University supporters stand on stage at Hulman Center on Friday night with placards spelling out $100,000,000 — the amount the university seeks to raise in its fundraising effort, “Be So Bold.” Photo courtesy of ISU
A big number: Indiana State University supporters stand on stage at Hulman Center on Friday night with placards spelling out $100,000,000 — the amount the university seeks to raise in its fundraising effort, “Be So Bold.” Photo courtesy of ISU

Indiana State University has launched the public phase of its “Be So Bold” fundraising campaign, which seeks to raise $100 million for the university by June 30, 2025.

ISU made the announcement during a kickoff event at Hulman Center on Friday night. “This is the largest fundraising campaign in ISU history,” said ISU President Deborah Curtis.

For the past three years, the campaign has been in its “quiet” phase and has already raised $62 million toward the $100 million goal, Curtis said.

Funds raised will support four priorities: student scholarships, faculty excellence, experiential learning and Sycamore athletics.

For each priority, Friday’s program included a video and a speaker talking about the impact it has on ISU students.

Among the speakers was student and ISU Presidential Scholar Corey Christman, who spoke about his “life-changing” scholarship from the university.

“I stand before you in my ISU nursing scrubs, without a tie, without a jacket, and with shoes that don’t shine,” Christman said. “But in these scrubs, I have held infants minutes after birth, consoled grieving families, and traveled to distant countries to provide free care to the less fortunate. ISU didn’t just provide me with a scholarship, they provided me with the ability to make sure that their generosity and care doesn’t stop with me.”

Christman, a nursing major with a Spanish minor, said that as his graduation from Martinsville High School approached, he had no clue what he would do afterward.

“I knew that college was far too expensive, and that in all reality, I had one of two options: the Air Force, or to apply for as many scholarships as possible,” he said.

He received word of his ISU scholarship just days before he was scheduled to meet with an Air Force recruiter. He shared his story “to show the impact that ISU makes on students, and the opportunities it provides,” Christman said.

Students and members of the campaign cabinet revealed the $100 million goal at the end of the approximate 3 1/2 hour kickoff by turning over cards on the stage, after which streamers were shot in the air. The crowd stood and music played.

During her remarks, Curtis told the audience that she and husband Lynn have made a major commitment to the campaign, and she appealed to others to do the same.

The amount of Curtis’ commitment will be announced at a later time.

“This campaign’s success is a message about people believing in our mission and making a commitment to invest in strengthening our capacity to educate and graduate more Indiana State University students,” the ISU president said. “We are driven by a determination to help more students cross the stage at commencement, having earned that life-changing degree.”

Campaign co-chairs are Paul and Susan Chaney and Larry and Buffy Boulet. The Chaneys and Larry Boulet are ISU graduates.

“Our ask,” Paul Chaney told the crowd, “is for you to take that bold step and help inspire the next generation of Sycamores to fulfill their dreams.”

ISU plans to conclude the campaign June 30, 2025, which is when its current strategic plan concludes. The campaign ties in with the priorities of that plan, said Andrea Angel, vice president for university advancement/ CEO of the ISU Foundation, earlier this week.

Increasing scholarship support is especially important, as about 50% of ISU’s freshmen class are first generation college students and about 50% or more are Pell eligible, she said.

“Resources more than anything sometimes hold them back” from attending or persisting, Angel said.

The amount of funds the ISU Foundation has been able to provide to the university for scholarship support has risen from about $2 million per year four years ago to more than $4 million last year. “By the end of the campaign, I anticipate giving $5 million to $6 million to student scholarships” per year, Angel said. Another campaign priority is experiential learning, or funding to help students engage in activities beyond the classroom, whether study abroad, internships, research opportunities or service trips.

Through the new Indiana State Advantage program, starting this fall, every first-time, full-time student on campus can apply for up to $3,000 for an educational experience outside the classroom.

The campaign will help fund that, Angel said. Funds raised for faculty excellence, another priority, would go for such things as endowed positions, research fellowships and research or travel grants. Additional funding is important to recruit and retain excellent faculty, Angel said.

The fourth priority is Sycamore athletics. Use of funds would include Hulman Center locker room improvements, which were not part of the overall renovation of the center. It also would support such things as team travel, nutrition and academic support for student athletes, (although not athletic scholarships, which are funded by the university). “Athletics play a huge role, not for just student athletes, but the community and alumni,” Angel said. “People are very passionate about the Sycamores.”

In terms of the overall campaign, Be So Bold focuses on people, not bricks and mortar, Angel said. “I think that’s why it’s going to be so successful.” It’s all about helping students become graduates and successful alumni.

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