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LSU's Tiger Stadium and other campus buildings on Sunday August 14, 2016.

LSU announced Thursday the launch of a $1.5 billion campaign to unite its campuses across Louisiana, calling it the largest higher education fundraising campaign in the state's history.

Sara Whittaker, LSU Foundation senior director of communications and marketing, said they are currently at 38 percent of their goal for the Fierce for the Future campaign.

Whittaker said they anticipate 60 percent of campaign donations will support academics, with 40 percent going to athletics. 

“We understand that there have been criticisms in the past about too much support going to athletics and not enough to academics,” she said. “Our standpoint is that both of those areas are worthy of investment, but this campaign is making a statement that this is the moment when our academics will shine just as brightly as our dominance in sports.”

In addition to supporting the flagship campus in Baton Rouge, the Fierce for the Future campaign will unite support for other LSU campuses around the state for the first time: LSU AgCenter; LSU of Alexandria; LSU Eunice; LSU Health New Orleans; LSU Health Shreveport; LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and LSU Shreveport.

"Gifts to the Fierce for the Future Campaign will empower LSU to drive solutions to global issues that Louisiana knows better than most,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a news release.

The campaign will focus on raising philanthropic support to advance the following pillars: arts and culture; coast, energy and environment; research and economic development; health and well-being; education; and leadership.

Fierce for the Future is LSU’s third fundraising campaign of its type. LSU’s first such advancement campaign was in 1997, garnering $150 million by February 1999 and eventually exceeding its goal. The Forever LSU campaign launched in 2006 raised $750 million, but fell short of its goals for student support.


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The university partnered with Milwaukee-based advertising agency BVK in helping develop the campaign, incorporating elements from a previous campaign geared toward recruiting students.

Though Whittaker did not disclose how much the university is spending on the Fierce for the Future campaign, she acknowledged that each bench mark in terms of their investment is “below what is industry standard” and that their team tried to “maximize investment as much as possible.”

Though the vast majority of funds — at $1.35 billion — will go to support the flagship campus, other campaign goals include $146 million in support of LSU’s health and biomedical campuses and $29 million in support of LSU of Alexandria, LSU Eunice and LSU Shreveport.

She said the hope is the campaign will “inspire people to give so that they understand just how worthy of an investment LSU is, and why it’s important to give.”

You can learn more about the campaign here.


Follow Jacqueline DeRobertis on Twitter, @jmderobertis.