By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO

Morgan State University has successfully completed its Sesquicentennial Anniversary Campaign, officials said.  The fundraising effort, celebrating the 150-year anniversary of the university in 2017, raised more than $254 million in gifts and grants from upwards of 15,000 supporters.

“This is a significant achievement in the history of our university, made possible by the generosity of those committed to the success of Morgan and our students,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University.

“These resources will go a long way in enabling us to advance Morgan’s mission while fostering an innovative environment that keeps our students on track to matriculate and prepares them for life beyond graduation,” Wilson said.

“You have to have the heart and soul of the community behind you if you are going to be successful,” said Mel Shaw, partner in Saad and Shaw, a comprehensive fund development firm supporting HBCU’s across the U.S. in fundraising strategies.

“We [HBCU’s] have to add our gifts up one gift at a time. No gift is too large or too small,” Shaw said, in affirmation of Morgan’s approach to fundraising.

Funds raised through the Anniversary Campaign will be used to provide “much needed financial aid and scholarships to students in need” and support for international experiences including Morgan’s study abroad program. Funding will also support the university’s strategic vision for community engagement, including the Morgan Community Mile Initiative, the University’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement and the Institute for Urban Research.

Dr. Raymond Winbush, director of Morgan’s Institute for Urban Research, looks forward to funding that would expand critical projects connecting campus and community.

“We are grateful for the respect and love shown to Morgan State University through the gifts of friends, supporters and industry,” he said. Winbush added, “Additional funding would help support partnerships such as the joint initiative between the AFRO and the IUR in developing the only full-blown polling research center assessing national attitudes of African Americans on a host of issues at Morgan.”

The Morgan Community Mile initiative is considered the campus’ flagship effort at working collaboratively to improve the quality of life of neighbors within a 1-mile radius of the campus in Northeast Baltimore.

The campus has expanded opportunities for students to help expand their horizons and increase Morgan State graduates’ competitiveness on a global scale.  Recent study-abroad trips have included China, Cuba, Australia and Mexico.

Native Baltimorean and recording industry executive Kevin Liles, co-founder of 300 Entertainment, served as the Anniversary Campaign’s honorary chair.