The good news is that during fiscal year 2011, Mississippi State University received private gifts and pledges totaling more than $80.3 million - making 2011 the most successful giving year in the university's 133-year history, and a 23 percent increase over last year's $65.1 million in private gifts.
A significant portion of that $80.3 million came in private gifts and pledges to the MSU athletic program in the form of a school-record $37 million-plus to athletics through the Bulldog Club and the Bulldog Foundation.
That, in turn, benefits the university's academic programs as well. The university's StatePride program - the initiative for student scholarships and faculty support begun by MSU President Mark Keenum when he took the reins leading the university - is the joint effort between the MSU Foundation and the MSU Athletics program to provide funds for new scholarships for talented students and financial awards for meritorious faculty university-wide.
The MSU administration is touting the private giving numbers across the board and in this economy, such successes should be highlighted. There are similar efforts at the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University - as well as at the state's other four institutions of higher learning as well.