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Oct. 25, 2019

Northwest launches Forever Green campaign with $45 million goal


With the sounds of the “Bearcat Fight Song” and a chant of “B-E-A-R-C-A-T-S, Northwest Missouri State University on Thursday afternoon officially launched the public phase of its Forever Green campaign.

Conceived and launched into a quiet phase in 2014, the Forever Green campaign seeks to raise $45 million for initiatives at the University that are centered on academic excellence, scholarships, student life, and other donor-directed gifts. The University culminated Thursday’s celebration by announcing the campaign has raised $42,927,221 to date.

Dr. John Jasinski

Dr. John Jasinski

“Northwest is a steward of place,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told the crowd of University employees, students, alumni and supporters filling the J.W. Jones Student Union for the kickoff event. “We’re a steward of this community and the communities we’re serving. We are an engine of opportunity. Our Forever Green campaign represents an important fuel to burn an engine of opportunity.”

The celebration featured displays that showcased campaign initiatives, and attendees signed their names to a banner to show their support. Northwest staff members and board members dressed in green sweaters emblazoned with the words “Forever Green,” and Bobby Bearcat worked the crowd, shaking hands and posing for photos.

A program that featured remarks from a variety of University leaders provided context to the campaign’s development as well as its immediate and projected impacts.
Mel Booth

Mel Booth

Mel Booth, a 1967 Northwest alumnus who serves as the campaign’s chair with his wife, Valorie, recalled the couple’s connection to Northwest, from growing up in nearby Bethany, Missouri, to seeking a college degree in Maryville. Mel Booth has led multibillion dollar companies worldwide in the pharmaceutical and life sciences fields, and Northwest named its Melvin V. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business in their honor in 2001.

The Booths were among the leading supporters of the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse, joining the Carl and Cheryl Hughes family, the city of Maryville and Nodaway Valley Bank as “team captains” of the Founding 50, a group of donors giving $50,000 and greater to construct the fieldhouse, which opened last year as a centerpiece of the campaign.

Describing himself and his wife as “deeply and passionately Forever Green,” Mel Booth compared his experiences with Northwest to a coat of green paint that hasn’t faded.  

“Life and career took us far from this region, but our hearts were always here at Northwest,” he said. “We’ve traveled to a lot of parts of the world, participated in a lot of business ventures throughout the world, but it all comes back here and we want to support the University and have. That’s one of the reasons we cheerfully agreed to become involved in the Forever Green campaign.”

The campaign, Northwest leaders noted, will help the Northwest Foundation dramatically increase scholarship awards to students. Additionally, it seeks to add support to University faculty through endowed funds, such as the Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professorship in Instrumental Music, provided through a gift announced in 2017.

Among other key components of the Forever Green Campaign is the Agricultural Learning Center, an estimated $8.5 million, 29,000-square-foot center to be built at Northwest’s 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm. The multipurpose facility will provide classrooms and laboratory resources to supplement and enhance the academic curriculum and research as well as space for public and private functions such as producer and agricultural industry meetings, workshops, shows and career development events, and the promotion of agricultural literacy.

“Forever Green is an excellent investment,” Booth said. “Forever Green is an investment in ensuring access for the students of modest means that Northwest has served for generations. Forever Green is an investment enhancing student life experiences on this beautiful campus. Forever Green is an investment in helping our already great academic programs climb further up the ladder of excellence. Forever Green is an investment in the future, and nothing represents the future better than today’s 7,000-plus students who have chosen to become Bearcats.”

Asma Hassan

Asma Hassan

Northwest Student Senate President Asma Hassan reflected on the impact scholarships have had on helping her achieve her dream of earning a college degree. Hassan, who was born in Saudi Arabia and came to the United States with her parents as a young child, is a senior psychology and human services major at Northwest.

She found a home at Northwest and is among the 38 percent of its student population who identify as first-generation college students.

“I knew I wanted to be a student here as soon as I drove up,” she said. “The smiles, greetings, the recognition of every nation, and the pride that we hold about each student being here is what makes Northwest a home to all Bearcats. Being Forever Green allows me to share the home that I found. It allows me to keep connecting with other people, learning, caring, practicing civility, and most importantly, showing my Bearcat pride.”

Dr. Marilou Joyner

Dr. Marilou Joyner

Dr. Marilou Joyner, the chair of Northwest’s Board of Regents, provided gratitude to all who have contributed to the campaign so far while reflecting on the reasons she continues to support the University. She earned bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist degrees at Northwest as a non-traditional student. Today, she is chief executive officer, owner and administrator of Cameron Group Care Inc.

“Finding success at Northwest fueled my desire to have more skills, and for me that meant returning to Northwest,” Joyner said. “The reality is that back then, and even more now, Northwest meets students where they are, regardless if they are from a different country, if they are in need of financial assistance, unable to come to our physical campus, and even those that are married with kids.”

The Forever Green campaign is an initiative of the Northwest Foundation, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation responsible for receiving, investing, stewarding and disbursing private support on behalf of the donors of Northwest Missouri State University for the benefit of the University, its students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Northwest Foundation is governed by a 39-member volunteer board of directors and is staffed by members of Northwest’s Office of University Advancement.

For more information about the Forever Green campaign and to learn about making a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/ForeverGreen/.

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/facts/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704