BOZEMAN — Montana State University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, “What It Takes,” raised more than $413 million for the university’s people, places and programs, MSU officials announced today, making it the most successful fundraising campaign in Montana’s history.

The total is also well above the campaign’s original $300 million goal, which was met in October 2016, more than two years before the scheduled conclusion of the campaign. “What It Takes” was MSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

First Day of 2019 Spring Semester
Montana State University students settle into a classroom in Norm Asbjornson Hall during the first day of the 2019 spring semester, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Bozeman, Mont. (MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

“We at Montana State University are overcome with gratitude for the many, many supporters who invested in our university,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “These generous donors pushed our campaign beyond all expectations and are helping to create a vibrant, sustainable and successful future for our campus.”

The campaign was publicly launched on Sept. 25, 2015, signaling the transition from what fundraisers call the quiet phase – which had started on July 1, 2010 – to the public phase. The campaign officially concluded on Dec. 31, 2018.

“The success of this campaign and the fruit it is bearing every day is a testament to just how critical private philanthropy is to the health and vitality of Montana State University and our land-grant mission,” said Chris Murray, president and CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation. “It also powerfully illustrates that every gift, no matter how large or small, makes a difference, and how people, when inspired, will give their time, talent and treasure for the greater good. We are forever grateful for each and every one of them.”

Within its “What It Takes” theme, the campaign focused on three areas: people, places and programs.

Funds raised through the “people” part of the campaign are for scholarships and fellowships to increase access to a wider and more diverse range of students, Murray said. Those funds will also provide resources to help students academically once they arrive on campus with tutoring, mentoring, internships and other programs. Additionally, funds will help MSU recruit and retain the best faculty for its students and for its research and outreach mission.

The “places” part of the campaign focused on funds for classroom, laboratory and student support spaces needed to address the university’s record enrollment, as well as funds to support new teaching methods and technologies. When the campaign began its silent phase in 2010, MSU’s fall enrollment was 13,559. By fall 2018, when the campaign concluded, enrollment had grown to 16,902, marking 11 straight years of enrollment growth for the Bozeman campus.

The “programs” part of the campaign focused on funds to help students have more service-learning experiences and more community engagement and international education opportunities, with the aim of building student leadership skills while benefiting state, national and international communities.

Specific initiatives funded in each of those areas include the following:


Norm Asbjornson Hall Exteriors
The newly completed Norm Asbjornson Hall
(MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)



Cruzado said the gifts are already fueling successes.

“Montana State University’s inspirational supporters, with their incredible gifts, are transforming every corner of this university,” she said. “Their support will allow the students, faculty and staff of Montana’s land-grant university to help create smarter, healthier communities, building a better Montana and shaping the future of the nation and the world.”

More information is available at

- By Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service -

More From K96 FM