SALEM — Salem State University has announced its largest-ever fundraising drive — for $25 million — but said it has already raised $15 million of that.
The university raised the money through private donors during the first phase of its “10,000 Reasons” campaign, named for the school’s 10,000 students. The second phase aims to raise the remaining $10 million from the public by June 2016.
The university announced the campaign during a gala reception Saturday night in the atrium of the new Gassett Fitness Center in the O’Keefe complex.
“It’s really exciting to be able to go public with $15 million already committed,” said university spokeswoman Karen Cady. “I think it’s quite remarkable, especially for a public institution.”
Money from the campaign, which was approved in 2011 by the school’s trustees and the Salem State Foundation, will be used for everything from scholarships to new computers to expanded international study programs.
Along with academic priorities and student services, the money would be used to bolster the “social experience” of students. Cady said, something she said is more and more important as the university has “increasingly become a residential campus.” In the past 10 years, the school has built two new dorms, Atlantic Hall and Marsh Hall, and plans to open a third next year.
“More and more students are living on campus,” Cady said. “It’s increasingly important to offer co-curricular activities for them to take advantage of.”
That means supporting groups and clubs, bringing more speakers to campus, creating new programs and increasing social opportunities, she said.
Another major project the drive will benefit is transforming the Mainstage Theatre into the Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, currently on track to be completed by December of next year. The project was boosted a few years ago by a “major commitment” from Bernard and Sophia Gordon.