By Chuck Samples/KVOE News
Posted June 27, 2013

Emporia State is pleased with the initial success of the comprehensive Now and Forever fundraising campaign. With around $12 million either pledged in hand, it's easy to see why.

The campaign is designed to bolster all aspects of university life, both academic and athletic. On KVOE’s ESU Buzz with President Dr. Michael Shonrock on Thursday, athletic champion Steve Sauder said there are several ways people can donate, including so-called "Difference Makers" and "Winning Edge" accounts. There is also a "First 150 Club" effort, where people donate $1,863 dollars a year -- noting the university's inception that year -- for five years.

“All of our sports need funding. We’re looking for five-year commitments,” Sauder said.

Among the uses will be facility upgrades, including a new surface for the Zola Witten Track and a new scoreboard for Welch Stadium.

To say the least, Emporia State historically gets a lot of bang for the buck. University athletics were third in the Director's Cup, a measure of overall success, in the MIAA this past year. At the same time, athletic funding is next-to-last in the 16-team conference. Shonrock says athletics opens up a lot of opportunities for students, and it adds to the quality of life on campus.

“If you have had a chance to meet with our students, they are awesome. They are great in the classroom. They do extremely well in retention rates; our graduation rates are often higher than the overall population,” he said.

Sauder says a committee of roughly 20 people, including former athletic trainer John Baxter, tennis coach George Milton and men's basketball coach Ron Slaymaker, set the initial direction and have been soliciting donations.

The athletic goal is $5.6 million, and Sauder says around $2.5 million has already been raised. The overall campaign goal is $45 million. For more information on athletic donations, call Associate Athletic Director Shane Shively at 341-6988. For more information on the overall effort, call Foundation Director DenaSue Potestio at 341-6475.