Contact: John Nash
May 2, 2008
CHARLESTON -- The Medical University of South Carolina has launched the public phase of a capital campaign to raise at least $300 million in private contributions by June 30, 2011.
During a kickoff ceremony held on the University's campus, MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D, announced that the campaign, called "A Partnership of Promise," already raised $207 million during its "quiet phase" which began in July of 2004.
"I hesitate to share that, because it implies that we're nearing the finish line," Greenberg told the crowd of 200 guests who attended the kickoff ceremony. "The fact is, our most difficult work is still ahead of us."
MUSC launched the campaign to fund projects and initiatives that otherwise would not be feasible with its current funding mechanisms. Although MUSC is a state-assisted institution, the state provides only 6.4 percent of the university's annual operating budget.
"You can't create excellence on 6.4 percent, not the kind of excellence that we expect from a nationally renowned leading healthcare institution," said Bob Sywolski, former CEO of Blackbaud and member of the University's capital campaign cabinet and MUSC Foundation Board. "We are here tonight because we all understand that," Sywolski said during the kickoff ceremony. "We have a clear vision of what this institution can be and needs to be, for each of us, individually, our families and the generations to come. And ultimately, we understand that it's going to take money - private money - to make that vision a reality."
"A Partnership of Promise" aims to raise at least $300 million that will empower MUSC to enhance its overall academic, patient care and research environment. Specifically, the campaign will raise at least $100 million for endowed chairs and professorships; $100 million for new and upgraded facilities and equipment; $50 million for student scholarships and fellowships; and $50 million for academic centers and programs.
MUSC embarked on only one other capital campaign during its 184-year history. That campaign, which ran between 1985 and 1988, began with a goal of $10.95 million and ultimately raised $16 million. Greenberg described the current campaign's $300 million goal as "ambitious but altogether achievable," thanks to a growing awareness about MUSC's role in advancing public health in South Carolina.
Kickoff speaker Beverly Seinsheimer said this awareness led her and her husband, Wally, to make their campaign gift, a one million-dollar contribution that will build a preventive cardiology clinic in MUSC's new hospital, Ashley River Tower. Seinsheimer described their gift as "the culmination of our lifelong search to discover and indulge our ultimate passion." A onetime nurse specializing in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, Seinsheimer said her interest in cardiovascular health became more personal when her husband developed heart problems of his own. That experience led the Seinsheimers to become involved with MUSC on a volunteer basis. She began serving on the MUSC Heart & Vascular Center Board and he became a director on the MUSC Foundation Board.
In recent months, the Seinsheimers discussed an idea with MUSC physicians for a new clinic that would help prevent heart disease by promoting healthier lifestyle habits. While the need for such a center was urgent, the financial resources were nonexistent. "We came to see that we had an opportunity to build something that would help people live longer, happier lives - not just today, but in perpetuity," Seinsheimer said. "At that point, Wally and I both realized that we had discovered our passion. We knew that the Medical University offered us a way to turn our vision into something real."
The Seinsheimer Clinic for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease is expected to open by the fall of 2008. When it does, it will offer comprehensive cardiovascular exams, nutrition assessments, counseling, rehabilitation, weight management, and exercise as means to improving cardiovascular health.
"I believe this campaign brings to each of us a unique opportunity, maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance to discover your passion, and to create a legacy that can touch people from this point forward," Seinsheimer said during the ceremony. ?It's an incredible opportunity. And when you realize it's there, I'd encourage you not to wait; seize it, and seize it now. We did, and we've never felt richer."