Ohio State Impact

But for Ohio State


But for Ohio State

Ohio State launched the public phase of its campaign with a big party, concert, and plenty of reminders of just what Ohio State is all about.

After quietly raising more than half of its stated goal, Ohio State celebrated the much-anticipated launch of the public phase of its $2.5 billion campaign October 4.

“The But for Ohio State campaign is about the difference between good and great,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “Our ability to garner private support from alumni and friends will allow us to play on the world stage in ways we cannot otherwise. People invest in strength, and Ohio State is stronger than ever.”

But for Ohio State is the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history. In fact, more than 400,000 alumni and friends have already contributed to the campaign—nearly doubling the number of donors to the university’s Affirm Thy Friendship campaign, which closed in 2000 after raising more than $1.2 billion. Nearly 350 alumni and friends are involved in the campaign as volunteers.

The university has five priorities for the campaign: Place Students First, Elevate Faculty and the Academic Enterprise, Create Modern Learning Environments, Embolden the Research Agenda, and Drive High-Impact Innovation. The funds raised will allow Ohio State to tackle complex global problems related to food production and security, health and wellness, and energy and the environment.

“The Ohio State University is about changing people’s lives. It is that simple,” Gee said. “Improving the lives of people in our local communities. Making a difference here and around the world by creating ideas that can be translated into opportunities. We have the capacity, the leadership, the talent, the research agenda, and the ambition to reveal ideas and solutions that can have enormous impact for hundreds of millions of people.”

The campaign began January 1, 2009, and continues through 2016. To get it started, the launch marked one of the biggest parties Ohio State has seen.

Faculty and staff attended a lunch in the Ohio Union’s Archie Griffin Ballroom, with a celebratory program featuring faculty, students, patients, alumni, and others, led by the president and the provost. That evening, the program was presented to donors and friends in the same ballroom. Following the dinner, everyone followed the Ohio State Marching Band outside for Rock the Oval, a performance by rock band O.A.R. composed of Ohio State alumni.

Throughout the campaign, people who have been touched by Ohio State will be encouraged to tell their stories about how the university has changed their lives. Those stories are inspired by Limited Brands founder and former Ohio State Board of Trustees Chairman Leslie Wexner, who explained his $100 million gift in 2010 with, “But for Ohio State, I would have never been able to go to college.” His quote inspired the name for the campaign.

“The But for Ohio State campaign will enable us to harness the power of your generosity to become a more agile, more responsive university that serves our community and our global society with unrestrained vigor,” Gee said.

Regional campaign events will be held in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC.


Placing students first
Awarding more grants, scholarships, and other financial aid; offering more study abroad opportunities; and building better places for students to live and learn.
Goal: $500 million

Elevating faculty and the academic enterprise
Attracting and retaining veteran faculty, as well as rising stars.
Goal: $600 million

Creating modern learning environments
Becoming a model for innovative campus design that encourages learning and teamwork.
Goal: $400 million

Emboldening the research agenda
Using a wider range of opportunities; rethinking traditional approaches and taking risks; collaborating with industries and across disciplines.
Goal: $500 million

Driving high-impact innovation
Moving discoveries into the marketplace to spur economic growth.
Goal: $500 million