Students waving the wheat wearing Far Above t-shirts

Far Above: The Story

Eight years ago, a bold mission kicked-off the start of something extraordinary — Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas. The campaign sought support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

Our belief was that with the support of alumni and friends, we could build capacity, expand opportunities, spark innovation and achieve aspirations — and we did, thanks to you.

The community rallied for the University of Kansas and The University of Kansas Hospital with unprecedented support. More than 4,700 volunteers gave their time to the cause by participating in events and serving on boards and committees.

Donors from all 50 states and 59 countries contributed, and many of them gave more than once. Some donors gave because as a student they received support. Some wanted to honor a loved one, a favorite professor or a program that inspires them. Others wanted to provide hope for a cure or to update facilities to better serve the university’s goals. 

Keen to address statewide needs, donors enabled expansion of the School of Medicine–Wichita to four years and creation of a Salina campus. These campuses are educating physicians to serve underserved populations, particularly in rural areas.

Involvement on campus was noteworthy. Students, faculty and staff shared their insights and experiences about how philanthropy makes a difference on campus every day — and a number became donors themselves. Just a couple of examples: a crowdfunding initiative spearheaded by the Student Endowment Board inspired 1,200 students to give; and even in the wake of reduced state funding, 75 percent more faculty and staff elected to give part of their paychecks back to the university during the campaign than did previously.

Each person who was a part of the campaign contributed to its story; and with more than 131,000 donors, we could fill novels. We are extraordinarily grateful for your support.

If you haven’t visited the KU campuses in a while, you are in for a surprise. Positive changes are happening inside and out, and the atmosphere is buzzing with energy.

“The impact of philanthropy is already visible across our campuses — in buildings completed, renovated and rising, in students who can now attend KU thanks to new scholarships, in faculty who have either joined the university or stayed thanks to support they have received, in lives both saved and changed by philanthropy,” said Kurt and Sue Watson, campaign co-chairs. “All of this and more has been made possible by donor contributions during Far Above.”

The University of Kansas has been transformed. KU will be greater for years to come, because of you.

Kickoff of Far Above with couple standing on Jayhawk
Watsons on stage at the kickoff of Far Above
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks in front of a photo of the KU flag