University of Idaho launches historic capital campaign

MOSCOW, ID - The University of Idaho launched its largest capital campaign in state history Friday.

The effort is the most ambitious fund-raising attempt ever in Idaho.

The University of Idaho unveiled its newest display at the Administration Building. The wall composed of artwork and names of benefactors who donated more than $100,000 to the institution. The unveiling is part of the university's $225 million capital campaign.

"The campaign is going to galvanize our alumni base and friends of the institution," said Duane Nellis, University of Idaho president. "I think people see how it's going to take us to the next level of excellence so we're really excited about it."

The quiet phase of the campaign began in 2007. Since then, more than 28,000 donors have made gifts totaling close to $162 million. The campaign now moves to the public phase as the university seeks out new investments.

The panels are removable and over time, they will be changed out as new donors are added to the legacy.

The campaign will help secure the financial resources needed to offer competitive education programs while help drive economic prosperity in Idaho. But its main goal is to inspire young people with full-ride scholarships.

"The scholarships mean everything for me and my education," said U of I student Ashley Vincent. "Not only did it allow me to come to this university, the one that I chose, but it also allowed me to pour myself into my study and not try to balance something like a full-time job and not be able to focus at all. I've been able to really dedicate myself and make the most of my learning experience."

"A lot of kids coming out of high school don't get a lot of chances to go and do something they want to do," said U of I student Treshawn Robinson. "I got an athletic scholarship, a full-ride for all four years. It's given me an opportunity to do what I love to do which is play football and also gives me an opportunity to study something I want to, which I'm very interested in, which is criminal justice."

The campaign will wrap up in 2014, which is also the 125th anniversary of the university's founding.

The formal public kickoff takes place Saturday night at the Kibbie Dome from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Tickets are $150 per person. You can visit www.uirsvp.com to register.