MTSU Centennial Campaign surpasses goal with $105 million

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee speaks Feb. 12 at the Centennial Campaign celebration dinner at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro.

Photo by Andy Heidt /MTSU News and Media Relations

MTSU’s Centennial Campaign fundraiser began as a part of the university’s 100th anniversary celebration in and has raised more than $105 million, which campaign officials announced on Friday at an unveiling event at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro.

The campaign funding ended on Dec. 31 and has become the most successful fundraiser in the history of the university by reaching and passing the $30 million goal set back in 2001.

“The fact that we met — and exceeded — our goal speaks to the commitment of the campaign’s volunteer leadership, the passion of our alumni and the vision we set forward for the future of our great university,” university president Sidney A. McPhee said in a press release from the unveiling.

A video message from Gov. Bill Haslam remarking on MTSU’s accomplishment was played during the announcement dinner.

“The momentum from this campaign will guarantee the continued growth and success for MTSU,” Haslam said. “It will help assure that MTSU will continue to prosper as a nationally acclaimed, comprehensive university.”


In preparation for the university’s 100 year anniversary celebration in 2011, the Centennial Campaign began on Jan. 1, 2009. For the next three years, the campaign silently raised more than $54 million.

On April 13, 2012, the Centennial Campaign was announced to the public with an $80 million goal. The announcement included a $10 million gift from alumnus Andrew Woodfin “Woody” Miller, which MTSU used to buy property on Bell Street previously owned by Middle Tennessee Medical Center.

The current $105 million was raised from 111,000 separate donations from 23,276 different donors, according to Joe Bales, vice president for university advancement.

McPhee said in the press release that many of the most influential gifts and donations occurred during the four- year public phase. These gifts included $7 million from private donors which went towards the $147 million Science Building that opened in October of 2014.

Funds from the Centennial Campaign have also contributed $27 million in scholarship funds and $28 million in estate gifts. The creation of an endowed chair of excellence in accounting was made possible by a $2.5 million gift from alumnus Joey Jacobs, with the same amount gifted from the state of Tennessee, through this fundraising campaign.

MT Athletics’ Jeff Hendrix Stadium Club and Adams Tennis Complex were also built as a result of the Centennial Campaign with help from the city of Murfreesboro and the Christy Houston Foundation.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (right) thanks Centennial Campaign chair and MTSU alumna Pamela Wright (left) Friday night during the Centennial celebration dinner at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (right) thanks Centennial Campaign chair and MTSU alumna Pamela Wright (left) Friday night during the Centennial celebration dinner at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro

“We began this campaign as an opportunity to think about – and do something about — the future of Middle Tennessee State University,” said Pamela Wright, campaign chair and MTSU alumna. “Those who stepped forward in this effort have set our course for MTSU’s second century.”

Along with Wright who is founder and CEO of Wright Travel, the campaign’s executive committee members were Zycron Inc. founder and chair Darrell Freeman; Haury & Smith Contractors, Inc. chair Stephen B. Smith; Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess; Joey Jacobs, chair and CEO of Franklin-based Acadia Healthcare; and MTSU Foundation member Don Witherspoon.

Bales attributed the success of the campaign to Wright and her executive committee.

“This record-setting, history-making effort was a success because of the passion and commitment of our volunteer leadership,” Bales said.

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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