QUINCY -- Officials with Quincy University announced on Monday that donors to the local private college's annual fundraising initiative surpassed the fundraising goal of $1.1 million, completing the largest QU Fund in the past 10 years.
In total, the QU Fund netted $1,177,301.90. The goal, which was announced in September, was $1.1 million.
Including donations made as part of the annual fundraiser, donors to QU have contributed $4,659,299 during the most recent fiscal year.
QU's Director of Community Relations Matt Bergman said this year's donors consisted of alumni and local friends of the university, including local business owners. Bergman said many of those donors gave gifts of $1,000. There also were a number of donations from recent alumni, who gave financial gifts of $5 or $10.
Michael Bickhaus, who served as co-chair with his wife, Kristine, said Monday's announcement should send a strong statement about how alumni feel about the university.
"We can accept the conventional wisdom of some that there is really no place in today's marketplace for small universities to thrive, and we can let QU slip quietly into the annals of history, or we can follow the footsteps of those giants who founded this university and accept the challenge before us, propelling QU forward into the future," said Bickhaus, who graduated from QU in 1990. "Donors accepted that challenge and blew through the goal this year."
He added that the number of donors contributing to the fund demonstrates that they are remain passionate about the university long after their graduation.
Incoming QU President Brian McGee, who will officially begin his tenure July 1, was on hand for Monday's announcement.
He echoed Bickhaus' sentiments in his own remarks.
"The philanthropic commitment that has been made here shows that QU is not just a wonderful history for those who experience QU as students, a wonderful place for those who continue to serve it as faculty or staff, but also is a passion and commitment to those who we will share this place with going forward," McGee said.
Bickhaus and other university officials said money raised as part of the annual fundraising initiative support student scholarships, campus enhancements and maintenance, technology upgrades and faculty development initiatives. In addition, the fund helps grow the university's endowment.
Amidst the celebration, Bickhaus said QU needs persistent support from its donors.
"In today's market, you are either a large institution or you are a really small school," Bickhaus said. "The mid-size colleges and universities are having a hard time, which is why this annual fund is so important. It fills an important niche and we need to continue to build from the shoulders of those giants, who we are now standing on, and move this institution forward."