But for Ohio State Campaign tops $3 billion

Over 750,000 donors contributed – likely most ever to a higher education campaign

By: The Ohio State University

Published on September 29, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University has concluded the most successful fundraising effort in its 146-year history, with contributions from what is believed to be the most donors ever to a higher education campaign.

The But for Ohio State Campaign raised over $3 billion from more than 750,000 donors, shattering the goal of $2.5 billion.

“The support of Buckeye Nation is historic,” said President Michael V. Drake. “The generosity of our alumni and friends is changing lives and helping to elevate Ohio State as a nationally competitive flagship university. Our community and communities around the world will benefit for generations to come.”

The campaign, which launched in 2009 and ended this month, raised more than $520 million for student scholarships and support.

It takes its name from the words of L Brands CEO and former university Board of Trustees Chairman Leslie H. Wexner, whose $100 million commitment to his alma mater set the tone and tenor for the campaign. “But for Ohio State, I would never have been able to go to college,” Wexner said.

Campaign highlights:

  • $3,004,563,961 raised in total.
  • More than 39,000 student scholarships.
  • More than $852 million raised for faculty and academics, including 96 endowed chairs and professorships.
  • $1 billion raised for research.
  • But for Ohio State donors would fill Ohio Stadium seven times and there would be a very long line waiting to enter.

Ohio State’s previous major fundraising campaign, Affirm Thy Friendship, raised $1.23 billion when it concluded in 2000, an amount that exceeded all gifts received during the university’s previous 123 years. But for Ohio State built on that donor enthusiasm, surpassing its $2.5 billion goal with nine months still remaining in the campaign.

“The fundraising momentum is unparalleled and continues to grow,” said Senior Vice President for Advancement and President of The Ohio State University Foundation Michael C. Eicher. “Our deepest gratitude to all those who contributed to the present and future of Ohio State – our students, our faculty, our facilities and our community. There truly is nowhere with a brighter future than The Ohio State University.”

The But for Ohio State campaign supported the academic mission and vision of the university under several priority areas: placing students first, driving research and innovation, elevating faculty and the academic enterprise, and creating modern learning environments.


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