Class Gateway with snow on top

Foundation History

The tradition of private support at Ohio University dates back to 1816 when Christopher and Daniel Herrold forgave the debt on the purchase of lumber used to build Cutler Hall. In the 1920s, Ohio University began its first campaign to generate private funding for the construction of Memorial Auditorium. A strong legacy of giving was established when more than 2,000 alumni responded with a gift during the 8-year campaign.

In 1946, OHIO President John Baker established the Ohio University Fund and helped raise more than $35,000 in private gifts during the fund’s first year. As the University approached its 150th anniversary, President Baker began a scholarship initiative that is still benefiting Ohio University students today. With the generous support of more than 3,700 alumni, students and friends, the University raised $364,724 for the “Sesquicentennial Scholarship Fund.”

In 1961, President Vernon R. Alden founded a gift society to recognize OHIO’s most generous benefactors. OHIO’s next formal campaign, “The 1804 Fund Campaign,” launched under the leadership of President Charles J. Ping with a goal of $14 million. Completed in 1981, the campaign secured more than $22 million.

In 1987, President Ping launched OHIO’s “Third Century Campaign,” with a goal of $100 million. Dr. Ping’s goal to grow OHIO’s endowment was realized when the campaign ended with $132 million in 1993. By the end of the campaign, Ohio University’s endowment had grown from $54.6 million to more than $90 million.

Ten years later, the University embarked on “The Bicentennial Campaign.” Completed in 2004, the campaign raised more $221 million toward its $200 million goal, doubling the goals of the “Third Century Campaign,” and securing Ohio University’s “best in class” position among other medium-sized research universities.

Then, in 2012, the University announced "The Promise Lives Campaign," a bold endeavor to secure $450 million in support of students, faculty, programs, outreach and facilities. When it closed on June 30, 2015, the campaign had surpassed the $500 million mark, and positioned OHIO to advance and support outstanding academic and research initiatives, the student-life experience, our campus environment and other objectives based on Ohio University’s core principles and most notable strengths. The Promise Lives Campaign also allowed the University to mobilize and engage OHIO's loyal alumni, volunteers and donors in new and innovative ways and create a new environment for alumni and student involvement that will lead to generations of renewed support for the University.

Major Capital Campaigns at Ohio University

The Promise Lives Campaign $500 million (completed in 2015)
Bicentennial Campaign $221 million (completed in 2004)
The Third Century Campaign $132 million (completed in 1994)
The 1804 Campaign $22.6 million (completed in 1981)