IUP Breaks Fundraising Records With $81-Million Imagine Unlimited Comprehensive Campaign, Exceeds Goal, Ends Campaign Early

Posted on 2/2/21 2:25 PM
22,003 members of the IUP family helped raise $81,359,941 for our students. Thank you.

Imagine Unlimited? Indiana University of Pennsylvania doesn't have to “imagine” anything: the success is real, and it's here—six months early.

IUP shattered its $75-million goal for the Imagine Unlimited Comprehensive campaign, raising more than $81.36 million, ending the campaign $6.13 million above goal and six months early.

Imagine Unlimited exceeded all previous fundraising campaigns staged by the university by more than $35 million and included the university's largest one-time gifts in its history: $23 million from alumni John and Char Kopchick and a $7-million gift from alumni Tim and Deb Cejka.

Prior to these two gifts, the university's largest one-time donation was $3.26 million from alumnus Robert Cook in in the early 1990s to establish the Cook Honors College.*

IUP's Imagine Unlimited comprehensive campaign is the largest comprehensive campaign in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Cover of the IUP Magazine issue that focused on Imagine Unlimited

“When we announced in April 2018 that the goal for Imagine Unlimited would be increased from $40 million to $75 million, it was in recognition of the commitment and affection that our alumni and friends have for this university,” William (Bill) Madia and Audrey DeLaquil Madia, co-chairs of the Imagine Unlimited Campaign, said.

“We have been overwhelmed—but not surprised—by the generosity of our donors and the hard work of our volunteers and staff,” Madia said. “Our donors have been very clear about the impact that IUP has had on their lives, and the resulting 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 who were new donors—stepped up with concerns and gifts to help our students and university through the pandemic,” he said.

Imagine Unlimited includes more than $430,000 raised in the last nine months for the Student Assistance Fund (originally the Emergency Response Fund) for students affected by the pandemic. More than 450 students received assistance from this fund to help them to continue their studies.

About Our Donors

John Kopchick earned a bachelor's degree in 1972 and a master's degree in 1975 from IUP, both in biology. Char Kopchick graduated from IUP with an education degree in 1973. Currently living in Athens, Ohio, John Kopchick is a professor of molecular biology and the Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar at Ohio University; his wife, Char Kopchick, is the assistant dean of students there. He is a co-inventor of the drug Somavert, which combats acromegaly, a growth hormone disorder.

The Cejkas cochaired the Natural Sciences and Mathematics component of the campaign. Tim Cejka, a member of the IUP Council of Trustees, is the retired CEO of ExxonMobil Exploration Company and vice president of ExxonMobil. Both are 1973 graduates of IUP; his degree is in geology, Deb Cejka's degree is in English Education.

Bill Madia, a 1969 chemistry and 1971 physics master's degree alumni, has a scientific career that has included executive positions with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Battelle. He currently serves as vice president and chairman of the Board of Overseers for the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. Audrey Madia, a 1970 home economics graduate, is an accomplished interior designer.

The success of Imagine Unlimited is the result of almost 63,700 donations from more than 22,000 donors, who made gifts designed to focus on the campaign priorities of 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 that they feel compelled to pay it forward, to provide new opportunities and support to students now and in the future.”

This campaign has energized donors in new and exciting ways, according to IUP Vice President of University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna.

“Everything we do in University Advancement is about impacting students, helping them to imagine their own unlimited possibilities, because of the impact that gifts make on the university,” she said.

“Students are at the heart of everything we do, especially the Imagine Unlimited campaign,” she said. “More than 7,700 students have received direct support through scholarships that are part of the campaign (many of which are renewable), and thousands more will be impacted in the future.

“Because this campaign is about transforming the student experience through new facilities, scholarships, research experiences, alumni networking opportunities and so much more, it will, quite literally, touch every IUP student,” she said. “Donors at all levels tell us that they give because they believe in IUP, and in all that it can be, and they want to set students up for every possible success.

The Imagine Unlimited Campaign includes two gifts of more than $7 million and nine gifts ranging between $1 million and $6.9 million, with 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,” she 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 return in some way the gifts that IUP has given to them,” she stressed.

The average gift amount has increased over 84.5 percent from 2015 to 2020.

While the Imagine Unlimited campaign has been about raising funds, it has also been about maintaining and strengthening relationships, to ensure that these relationships are lifelong ones, “and this is something that has involved employees, students, alumni, and friends, not just the members of the University Advancement team,” she stressed.

“More alumni than ever are actively engaged with the university, not just as donors, but as part of the alumni network, including as mentors and resources for current students and fellow alumni,” she said.

“The Imagine Unlimited campaign has really lit a fire within the IUP family. They are excited to be part of IUP's future and want to set up the university for continued success, especially as we look toward IUP's 150th anniversary.” Students have also been an important part of the Imagine Unlimited campaign, not only working with the advancement team on fundraising and networking initiatives, but as donors. Student giving has continued to increase, with total student giving in 2015 at 391, compared to 1,062 student gifts in 2020, a 171 percent increase.

As 2020 neared its end, University Advancement and Imagine Unlimited campaign volunteers, knowing that the campaign was almost at its $75-million goal, challenged themselves to meet the goal by the end of the calendar year. The rally had great success: the result was gifts totaling $5,715,000 before December 31, meeting the goal and the rally timeline.

“Some of our significant ‘rally' gifts of $25,000 or more came from IUP leadership, volunteers, alumni, and friends—the people that are very close to the university and who know us the best, which is an incredible vote of confidence,” Osseiran-Hanna said. “We had gifts from alumni from the 1960's to the 2010's; from current and former trustees; and from current and former employees,” she said. “They have seen the university through good and challenging times and have never lost faith in us.”

Osseiran-Hanna praised the deans of the colleges for their work in maintaining connections with alumni, students and friends that resulted in gifts impacting significant fundraising initiatives to benefit students.

A student working with a young girl in the Bill and Judy Scheeren Literacy Center
A student working with children in the Larry F. Sobotka Science Discovery and Outdoor Learning Center

“For example, Dean (Deanne) Snavely has been incredible in her work related to Kopchick Hall; Dean (Lara) Luetkehans has done great work to bring the Bill and Judy Scheeren Literacy Center and the Larry F. Sobotka Science Discovery and Outdoor Learning Center to life,” she said.

Osseiran-Hanna came to the university in September 2017 as the interim vice president for University Advancement. Following a search, she was named to the permanent position in September 2018.

The university was in the “quiet phase” of the campaign when she began her work at IUP.

She led her team and the Imagine Unlimited volunteers in growing the campaign from about $18 million to $53 million in April 2018, and then to $75,144,788 as of November 30, 2020.

In addition to the devotion of loyal alumni and friends to IUP, Osseiran-Hanna attributes the success of Imagine Unlimited to the positive mindset of her team and the university community who held “a belief that we would succeed;” IUP's strong and hard-working leadership team, who have worked hard to break down silos and who have actively stepped up as donors themselves at leadership gift levels; and the fact that donors see how their gifts are changing the lives of IUP students.

Mrs. Audrey Madia and Bill Madia talk with IUP sophomore biochemistry major Sam Lenze, from Indiana.

For example, the gift from the Madias, who describe themselves as struggling financially as students at IUP, are helping Isaac Dewar, a physics and applied mathematics major from a single-parent household who was able to quit a full-time job and just concentrate on this studies at IUP. “This scholarship has made it much easier. It covers the necessities, so I can take care of myself.”

While the campaign was not scheduled to end until June, and donations are continuing, the Imagine Unlimited national campaign cabinet decided it was time to announce the campaign's conclusion and begin 2021 with news of the success of the campaign, Osseiran-Hanna said.

What's next?

“Celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate,” she said.

“We'll take some time to rest and rejuvenate, but not too long—we'll begin a needs assessment in collaboration with the university's leadership team, focusing on the needs of academic affairs and our strategic plan. We'll also be looking forward to celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2025.”

*Updated to reflect the correct amount of Robert Cook's gift.