Spirit Campaign surpasses goal of $300 million

DONATE Life is good Inc. co-founder speaks as part of UND funding celebration.

Former Student Body Vice President Grant Hauschild (left) and former Student Body President Matt Bakke pose with a $10,000 donation check in 2010 as part of the North Dakota Spirit Campaign. The campaign began in 2005. File photo.

UND wrapped up its eight-year North Dakota Spirit Campaign in style Friday at the Chester Fritz Auditorium with the reveal of the final donation amount and a motivational presentation.

Students standing onstage revealed the total amount of donations by holding up signs with numbers on them.

One by one, each number was shown with the end result being $324,128,018 — breaking the original goal of $300 million. More than 38,000 donors made reaching the goal possible, according to university staff.

The money is already being put to use through scholarships and endowment funds, and to partially fund projects such as the construction of UND’s planned athletics complex.

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To kick off the event, a motivational presentation was given by Life is good, Inc. co-founder Bert Jacobs.

To emphasize the idea of optimism and choices people have, Jacobs started by talking about his nephew. Jacobs said his nephew always seemed happy, and kids seem to always meet people with open arms — compared to adults, who always do so with folded arms.

Jacobs carried those ideas over to the apparel and accessories business he runs with his brother, John Jacobs. Bert Jacobs says the pair started with nothing and now sells its products at more than 3,500 retailers.

Looking back, Jacob said it was the lows such as sleeping in a van while selling T-shirts across the country that are a highlight for them — not the money.

Assistant Dean of Students Cassie Gerhardt spoke highly of the presentation after the event.

“Happiness is in the van selling T-shirts,” Gerhardt said. “It is not about money and all that stuff. It is about selling those 40 T-shirts.”

Scholarship raffle

In addition to the campaign announcement and Jacob’s speech, five $1,000 scholarship were raffled off to students.

The winner of one of those scholarships, sophomore Madison Gemar, said she was not aware of the event until that day but felt blessed to have been at the event to have had a chance to hear Jacobs.

“I thought the part at the end when he described about how we get to do things compared to having to do things should be something we take into account every day,” Gemar said. “Just like he said, we get to go to class, we don’t have to, and I think that is really inspiring.”

Beside the five scholarships, one student was given a $5,000 check to donate to the club or program of his or her choice.

Sophomore Morgan Murphy was picked as the check’s winner and decided to donate the money to his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“We cannot say thank you enough for this generous gift, it really was a gift,” he said. “We did not feel entitled to it at all. It was a blessing.”

Murphy said the money will go a long way in helping the chapter be involved in events it has not had the money to do up to this point.

He also thanked the university’s alumni for continuing to donate to UND.

“Without the alumni, we wouldn’t be able to stay a university,” Murphy said. “There are so many programs that get initiated because of the alumni donations.”

Mathew McKay is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at mathew.mckay@my.und.edu



Below: Bert Jacobs (left) and his brother John are co-founders of Life is good. Bert Jacobs stopped at UND Friday to give a speak to kick off the UND Alumni Association Foundation’s reveal of the total amount raised from its North Dakota Spirit Campaign. Photo courtesy of ABC News.