St. Thomas fundraising nets staggering $515 million

The University of St. Thomas surpassed its $500 million fundraising goal during a five-year drive, perhaps a record in a five-state area for a private college. The eye-popping amount was raised by the Roman Catholic college in St. Paul mostly during the recession. The college plans to use the money for scholarships, academic programs and construction projects.

The University of St. Thomas surpassed its ambitious $500 million fundraising goal during its "Opening Doors" campaign, the Star Tribune reports.

The eye-popping amount, raised mostly during the recession by the state's largest private school, was a record for private colleges and universities in Minnesota and four neighboring states, according to St. Thomas' research, the Pioneer Press reports. The Roman Catholic college in St. Paul plans to use the money for financial aid, academic programs, and construction and renovation projects, the newspaper says.

School officials were scrambling to pull in a few more dollars even in the final hours of the drive on Wednesday, school officials said. One fundraising consultant for higher education schools who was not involved in the effort said it would have been impressive even amid a good economic climate, the Pioneer Press says.

The campaign got three gifts of more than $50 and was launched with $60 million from St. Thomas trustee Lee Anderson and his wife, Penny. More than 43,000 alumni and friends donated, the Catholic Spirit reports.

“The campaign transformed our campus with stunning new facilities. But most significant was our single-largest goal, raising $142 million for financial aid that will open the doors to a St. Thomas education for future generations of students from all economic and cultural backgrounds,” school president Father Dennis Dease said in the Catholic Spirit.

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