FARGO — The North Dakota State University Foundation has surpassed its $400 million fundraising goal for the In Our Hands campaign, reaching its goal a year ahead of schedule.

The philanthropic organization announced Wednesday, May 5, that it raised $413 million from more than 14,000 donors as of April 26, meaning it has set a personal record for most money raised for a single campaign.

“It’s a testament to the belief and confidence that alumni and friends and corporate partners (and) all of our external stakeholders have in the mission of NDSU,” foundation president and CEO John Glover said.

The campaign started in 2016 and was set to run until Dec. 31, 2022. It will wrap up by the end of this year, Glover said.

The foundation announced the campaign’s goal in October 2019 with a large event at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Speeches highlighting how donor money impacts campus life culminated into the announcement of the largest single donation in NDSU history: a $75 million gift from university alumni Robert and Sheila Challey. The two are co-chairs of the campaign alongside fellow alumni Steve and Mary Anne Swiontek.

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“We wanted to do more in the area of legacy gifts but also recognize the enjoyment of giving while you’re still living,” Robert Challey said in a statement.

A large portion of the funds — $169 million — will go toward scholarships to help students like Brianna Maddock. The junior who is studying biotechnology also noted an unpaid research position she has at NDSU.

“It’s some of the absolute best experience I have ever received for what I eventually want to pursue for my career,” she said.

Without the scholarships, she wouldn’t have been able to get that experience, she said. Receiving scholarships means a donor is saying a student’s goals are worthy, she added.

As an ambassador who connects the foundation with students, Maddock said she tells students how they can help the campus once they leave the school.

The campaign was about lifting up students by funding scholarships for education, but there are other aspects of NDSU life it will help, Glover said. The foundation has reserved $120 million for programs, $96 million for facilities and $28 million for faculty support.

The majority of the funding is already at work, he added.

“We want this campaign to transform NDSU, not just enhance it but transform it,” said Steve Swiontek, who also is the executive chair and chairman of the board at Gate City Bank.

In Our Hands has helped fund several on-campus projects, including the $28 million Aldevron Tower, the Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex and the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

The campaign came at a time when NDSU faced tough budget years. NDSU President Dean Bresciani announced in 2015 a focus on increased philanthropy for the school. That prompted the In Our Hands campaign, the foundation said.

Fundraising isn't a replacement for state dollars, but it helps NDSU recruit and retain world-class educators, foundation spokeswoman Nicole Thom-Arens said.

"This support helps ensure faculty research continues despite fluctuations in state funding," she said.

The school plans to celebrate the campaign’s impact with in-person homecoming events Oct. 6 to 9, the foundation said.