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Historic Campaign Concludes

Six months early and in the midst of a crippling, worldwide pandemic, IUP wrapped up its Imagine Unlimited comprehensive fundraising campaign in February. And it did so by raising $81.36 million, exceeding the campaign’s $75-million goal by more than $6 million.

That total included two one-time gifts—both made by alumni—that are the largest in university history.

One of these gifts totaled $23 million and was given by John and Char Labay Kopchick. John received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IUP in 1972 and 1975, respectively, and Char earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973. The other gift, for $7 million, came from two of Char’s IUP classmates, Tim Cejka and Debra Phillips Cejka.

Before the Kopchick and Cejka gifts, the largest one-time donation IUP had ever received was $3.26 million given by Bob Cook ’64 in the early 1990s to establish the Cook Honors College.

The cochairs of the Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign are Bill Madia ’69, M’71 and Audrey DeLaquil Madia ’70.

“We have been overwhelmed—but not surprised—by the generosity of our donors and the hard work of our volunteers and staff,” Bill Madia said. “Our donors have been very clear about the impact that IUP has had on their lives and the necessity they feel to support current and future students because of how IUP has changed their lives.

“Despite a global pandemic and the financial challenges it created, our alumni and friends never faltered in their support of IUP and our students. In fact, alumni—many of whom were new donors—stepped up with concerns and gifts to help our students and university through the pandemic.”

More than $430,000 was raised in the last nine months of the campaign to benefit the Student Assistance Fund. Originally designated the Emergency Response Fund, it has helped more than 450 students continue their studies despite pandemic-related problems.

In April 2018, the goal for the entire Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign had been hiked from the original amount of $40 million to $75 million. “It was in recognition of the commitment and affection that our alumni and friends have for this university,” Bill Madia said.

The donors—more than 22,000 of them—responded and eventually made nearly 63,700 donations to the campaign. Priorities included enhancing science and mathematics, academic excellence and innovation, student success, and leadership through athletic competition.

“The Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign is about imagining everything that IUP can be, positioning our students to be able to change the world,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “Donors tell us that IUP helped them to realize their own potential, and they feel compelled to pay it forward, to provide new opportunities and support to students now and in the future.”

According to IUP’s vice president for University Advancement, Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, “Students are at the heart of everything we do, especially the Imagine Unlimited campaign. More than 7,700 of them have received direct support through scholarships that are part of the campaign, and thousands more will be impacted in the future.”

In addition to the Kopchick and Cejka gifts, the campaign received nine gifts between $1 million and $6.9 million and 21,943 gifts of $25,000 or less.

“While we have received a number of million-dollar gifts, the majority of donations made to the Imagine Unlimited campaign are ones of less than $25,000,” Osseiran-Hanna said. “Donors, especially our alumni, have an extraordinary affinity and affection for IUP, and even if they don’t have great financial means, they want to help students and to return in some way the gifts that IUP has given to them.”

The average amount of a gift to the university increased nearly 85 percent between 2015 and 2020. Even giving by students increased, with 391 total student donors in 2015 growing to 1,062 in 2020, a 171 percent increase.

While the Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign was due to end in June, and donations are continuing, the campaign’s national cabinet decided to begin 2021 with good news and announced the drive’s conclusion.

More about the campaign and its monumental impact on the university as it moves forward will appear in the next issue of IUP Magazine.