MSU shatters single year fundraising record for a Mississippi public institution of higher learning

In a historic philanthropic achievement, Mississippi State University has eclipsed all previous single-year fundraising records among the state’s public institutions of higher education.

With unwavering support from its dedicated alumni, friends and partners, the university soared to unmatched heights in the 2023 fiscal year, reaching an exceptional level of success raising an astounding $259.9 million in gift commitments and marking the 10th consecutive year of private gifts totaling $100 million or more.

“This unprecedented level of support for Mississippi State University is an extraordinary investment in the people and communities we serve. We are proud to have earned the faith and trust of our friends and alumni who recognize how we are taking care of what matters and who also know we will be good stewards of their gifts,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said.

“These gifts will positively impact our state for generations to come as more Mississippians gain access to scholarships, campus resources and hands-on education, research and service opportunities—-enabling more students to pursue and earn their degrees, compete for the jobs of the future, and serve their communities,” he continued. “I am so grateful to the Mississippi State family for their support of our university and the work we are doing.”

The success of FY 23, which ended June 30, was made possible through the generosity of 20,460 unique contributors. Their gifts strengthened support for areas across the university and will enable MSU to propel innovation, empower students and amplify its positive influence both locally and globally.

“This remarkable achievement not only demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the university’s generous supporters but also solidifies Mississippi State University’s position as a leading institution dedicated to excellence in education, research, and service,” said John P. Rush, president and CEO of the MSU Foundation. “We are tremendously grateful for the incredible outpouring of support from our alumni and friends who have enabled us to realize this historic fundraising achievement. Their philanthropic spirit and dedication to our mission are driving forces behind our continued growth and impact.”

“This unprecedented level of support for Mississippi State University is an extraordinary investment in the people and communities we serve.”

~ President Keenum

Alumni participation again reached over 19%, well above the national average of 8% support among former students as reported by U.S. News and World Report. Additionally, nearly 6,600 individuals contributed to MSU for the first time and more than $5.3 million of the total funds raised were accounted from gifts of $1,000 or below.

Counted among the FY 23 fundraising total is a collective $40.2 million in deferred gifts. These planned commitments, established through a variety of methods including bequests, IRA rollovers and charitable gift annuities, will fuel future opportunities for various academic disciplines, facilities, student and faculty support, and outreach efforts in the coming years.

As the deferred gifts serve as fortifying investments for the future of the university, outright gifts provided immediate support for critical areas across the university.

Such generous support enabled more than 5,000 private scholarships amounting to more than $11 million to be awarded to students in FY 23. Gifts supporting scholarships include additional Loyalty and Legacy Scholarships and funds for the MSU Compass Scholars program, all of which expand MSU’s efforts to attract top students. More specific awards include the Coach Mike Leach Endowed Scholarship, created in memory of the late MSU football coach, as well as others benefiting areas such as engineering, industrial technology, agriculture, creative and performing arts, and business.

Other gifts from the fiscal year will support fundraising priorities such as scholarships and academic programming, enhanced research and community outreach, faculty support and campus infrastructure, among others that collectively drive transformative educational experiences for MSU’s diverse student body and strategic initiatives aimed at greater overall success.

Most of the institution’s fundraising is conducted by the MSU Foundation which was established in 1962 to help attract support from private sources.  

More information about the MSU Foundation can be found online at

A hand holding a dollar bill in a maroon circle.An astounding $100 million commitment to bolster the George Bishop Family Endowed Scholarship marked the largest single gift in university history. It also heightens MSU’s stature as one of the nation’s few four-year public universities to receive a nine-figure private gift and will greatly increase the number of awards available to students across the university in the coming years.

A laurel wreath icon in a maroon circle.Endowed faculty positions were heightened through gifts that created and enhanced faculty support, professorships and chair positions in the Adkerson School of Accountancy, Bagley College of Engineering, College of Architecture, Art and Design, and College of Veterinary Medicine. Among the newly established positions are two endowed chairs in the Bagley College—one will benefit the department head in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the other will advance energy systems research in the mechanical engineering department.

Three gears in a maroon circle.The James Worth Bagley College of Engineering experienced a significant giving year with more than $41.8 million in gifts. Among them was a significant commitment to support activities that will enhance the national image and reputation of the mechanical engineering department and better position the Bagley College as a leading institution in the application and integration of energy producing and consuming technologies.

A football icon in a maroon circle.The creation of two endowed fellowships—the Robert Bell Athletic Administration Fellowship and the Frank Dowsing Jr. Football Fellowship—serve as meaningful tributes to the legacies of success set forth by the late Bulldog football players for which they are named. Furthermore, the endowments will foster opportunities for student-athletes who aspire to jumpstart their career in athletics.

A light bulb icon in a maroon circle.Gifts for development funds will advance entrepreneurship at MSU through support for the E-Center, IDEE Lab, MaxxSouth Broadband Digital Media Center at Mitchell Memorial Library and additional makerspaces—all of which provide valuable resources and opportunities for the entire campus community. Support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation also will benefit the Student Design Agency for Mississippi Small Business program.

An icon of an airplane with a sun on it.Investments in student travel programs will engage students in meaningful experiences to expand their perspectives and cultural understandings.

An icon of a brain and a cross in a maroon circle.Support from The Riley Foundation, The Phil Hardin Foundation and the Broadhead Foundation is greatly expanding MSU-Meridian’s health care programs, including the accelerated nursing program, Master of Science in Nursing program and expansion of both the Clinical Mental Health program and mental and behavioral health training. These investments will increase opportunities to prepare Mississippi students to meet medical needs in the state and region.

A hand holding a cross icon in a maroon circle.Gifts for excellence funds in the College of Education will impact disability outreach services and relevant learning opportunities through enhanced support for resources and programming in MSU’s T. K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability and Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic.

A trophy icon in a maroon circle.Gifts to MSU Athletics totaling $29.8 million will provide resources and support for Bulldog student-athletes and coaches and advance facility enhancement projects including the renovation of Humphrey Coliseum.