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Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement at Black Hills State University, said Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the school in Spearhead S.D., that the BHSU Capital Campaign, which kicked off in 2014, surpassed goals and raised $45 million. The majority of funds will benefit student scholarships. (Image courtesy of Black Hills State University)

Black Hills State University raises $45 million during five-year fundraiser

 SPEARFISH, S.D. – Christmas came early this year for one South Dakota university. 

Black Hills State University, located in Spearfish, recently ended a five-year fundraiser that garnered more than $45 million. 

The school’s capital campaign - called “Because of You, Anything is Possible” - was the largest fundraiser in the university’s 136-year history. The school said the money will benefit students for generations to come by going toward scholarships.

“In 2014, BHSU made a commitment to have a scholarship campaign to assist our students with the cost of their education,” Steve Meeker, the school’s vice president for University Advancement, said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to all the supporters that made this campaign successful.” 

The initial goal of the campaign, which kicked off in 2014, was to raise $23 million. “We quickly found out that anything was indeed possible as we flew by our goal,” Meeker said.

By the end of 2017, the university had raised $23.7 million and recommended a new goal of $32 million. The donation total, announced on Tuesday, Dec. 17, nearly doubled the initial campaign goal. 

The majority of funds ($32 million) will go toward endowed student scholarships, according to a news release. The remaining $13 million will go to the Annual Fund, which also includes scholarships along with money used for the purpose of donors’ wishes.

A snapshot of what the campaign produced, includes: 

  • 23,790 gifts from donors supporting BHSU, including,
  • 4,699 new donors
  •  62 new endowments, and
  • 260 BHSU employee gifts totaling $2,273,817

The funds raised include:

  • More than $23 million in estate gifts
  • More than $20 million in cash and/or pledges
  • $690,000 in gift-in-kinds

The success of the campaign will impact the school and its students for years to come, according to Laurie Nichols, the university’s interim president Laurie.

“As a result of this campaign, current and future students will receive scholarships to help them attend BHSU, graduate sooner and with less debt,” she said. “We are forever indebted to our donors for opening wide the doors to a lifetime of opportunity for our future students.”