Oregon State Athletics propelled by record-setting fundraising year

September 13, 2022

By: Julie Cooper

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fueled by plans to Complete Reser Stadium, a university-wide priority, donors gave $49.8 million to Oregon State Athletics during the 2022 fiscal year, which represents its second record-breaking fundraising year in a row. This success is a part of a larger trend of rising philanthropy at OSU, led by the OSU Foundation.

“I could not be more grateful and proud of what thousands of donors have made possible at OSU, positioning our student-athletes and coaches for even greater future success,” said Scott Barnes, vice president and director of OSU Athletics. “The OSU community, and our close partnership with the OSU Foundation, helped us secure $127.6 million in gifts in the last two fiscal years elevating OSU as a national leader in athletic performance, coaching, facilities, fan experiences, and the holistic development and success of our student-athletes.

“The thoughtful generosity of Beaver Nation will ensure the stability and growth of Oregon State Athletics and its position as an integral part of our campus community and as a valued member of the Pac-12 Conference.” 

Highlights from the year

  • Gifts from 5,560 donors, an increase of 24% over the last year.

  • A 98% increase in gifts supporting athletic programs on Dam Proud Day, the university’s annual day of giving and engagement, resulted in over $475,000 raised for all 16 teams and other department priorities.

  • $6.4 million in new commitments to support OSU Athletics endowments in the areas of program support and scholarships.

Completing Reser Stadium

The $161.5 million renovation of Reser Stadium was made possible by 20 generous donors, many of whom also support other areas at the university. This extraordinary philanthropy includes 12 donors who made their first-ever commitment of $1 million or more to the university, as well as the anonymous $50 million lead gift that kickstarted the project and inspired additional support.

The lead gift is one of only 16 commitments of this size ever recorded in support of collegiate athletics. It also equals the largest donation ever made to OSU — a $50 million commitment from alumnus Gary Carlson, ‘74, to double the size of OSU’s animal hospital and name the Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

On track to be completed for the 2023 football season, the revamp of Reser will offer new premium and general seating options on the west side that will provide the closest proximity to the playing field anywhere in college athletics. In addition, the project brings year-round university facilities including a welcome center for new students and their families and a 35,000-square-foot wellness center.

Contributors exceeded the project’s original $85 million fundraising goal, with gifts totaling $91.6 million raised for the project; a great show of enthusiasm for the state-of-the-art athletic facility that will serve all students, 365 days a year.

Donors support the long-term growth of Athletics

The department’s fundraising efforts create exciting opportunities for the future. One example of this is through increased endowment support, where there is a distribution (or payout) each year in support of OSU Athletics programs, while the principal remains invested for long-term growth.

“The last two years’ fundraising success hinges not only on the size of the gifts, but on the collective impact and thoughtfulness of our donors,” said Aaron Escobar, senior associate athletic director and vice president of athletic development. “These two back-to-back record-breaking years in athletic fundraising build momentum toward a strategic plan for a thriving and nationally competitive OSU. I am especially appreciative of the $6.4 million in endowment commitments in the last year that will safeguard the long-term financial sustainability of OSU Athletics by generating lasting funding for scholarships and programs.”