The MTSU Foundation recently celebrated its golden anniversary with 140 past and present board members, including trustees and past Foundation presidents, as well as University officials and other invited guests attending.
The Nov. 18 dinner at the Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel and Conference Center was a prelude to a Nov. 19 board meeting in the new College of Education Building. It featured remarks from MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Murray Martin, a 1975 MTSU alumna and current Foundation president.
“The Foundation’s role and the philanthropic dollars that come to the Foundation are critically important,” McPhee told the group. “We’ve made incredible progress. The MTSU Foundation received more than $8.5 million in gifts this year, and today we are generating more than $1.25 million in endowment income annually.
“This organization always has kept student support at the top of its priorities. And while endowment income and gifts to the MTSU Foundation now support more than 1,000 scholarships and student awards annually, the board now helps secure gifts that are having an impact on our entire campus.”
Martin shared the history of the Foundation from its establishment as the Middle Tennessee State College Loan, Scholarship and Development Foundation to its current status.
The Foundation has a current endowment of more than $37.5 million and total assets of more than $60 million, she said. It has raised more than $133 million since its inception in 1961.
“Tonight, we’re here to celebrate—to celebrate our heritage, to celebrate our success and to celebrate our future,” Martin said. “But we’re also here to say thank-you to each one of you for your hard work, your personal commitments of time and resources, and for the many things you do each day to help make MTSU a special place.”
Martin recognized former MTSU President Sam Ingram and his wife, Lynette, and National Alumni Association President Brent Campbell (’02) and his wife, Tammy. Also acknowledged were new trustees John Harris of Sorrento, Fla.; and Donald McDonald (’63), Dr. Sandy Neal (’76, ’77), Kathy Ryan, Wren Jones and Joe Klingenmeyer, all from Murfreesboro.
Old Main Society members, who have donated $100,000 or more to the Foundation, also were acknowledged, though not all were able to attend. They included Robert (’73, ’00) and Susanne Adams; Fred (’72) and Cindy Adams (’81); Dr. Walter (’78) and Denise (’81) Chitwood; George (’57) and Charlotte (’58) Gardner; Donald (’63) and Frances McDonald; Don and Carolyn (’64) Midgett; Bill (’68) and Linda Mooningham; Liz Rhea (’55); Ross (’55) and Eva Mae (’81, ’90) Spielman; and Don (’64) and Hanna (’64) Witherspoon. All are from Murfreesboro except the Midgetts, who live in Tullahoma, Tenn., and the Mooninghams, who live in Old Hickory.
Event attendees were entertained by “some of the beneficiaries of the private support given to the Foundation,” Martin said. Under the direction of Angela Tipps, an assistant professor in the MTSU School of Music, the 30-member Women’s Chorale performed five songs.
The MTSU Foundation was established in 1961 as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization to receive property or gifts and manage them independently on behalf of the University. All contributions, donations, gifts or bequests of personal or real property to the University must be made through the Foundation, except in the case of research grants and contracts. This keeps private gifts separate from state funds and allows greater flexibility in the use of those gifts.
The Foundation is managed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and is staffed by University employees. Joe Bales, vice president for Development and University Relations, serves as executive director of the Foundation.
The Foundation is housed in the Wood-Stegall Center, named for the late Randolph C. “Randy” Wood (’41) and Whitney Stegall (’37), two of the original founders of the Foundation. For more information, visit www.mtsu.edu/development.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)