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Campaign Update

Gifts Create USU Musical Legacy

The dedication, passion and vision of a “true entrepreneur” have led to an important partnership between Utah State University and Gaylen and Denise Rust, owners of R Legacy Entertainment.


Through two gifts, R Legacy Entertainment has provided the financial support to develop a new program based in the Caine College of the Arts to provide the training and expertise for young performing artists to build successful careers in all aspects of the profession.


The program will be based in the Department of Music, but includes all disciplines in the arts, said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts and former department head for music and theatre arts.


“Utah State University is the beneficiary of Gaylen's passion,” Jessop said. “His vision is to develop a program that will bring young artists in all areas successfully into the profession with a solid background in performance, production and technical understanding, as well as with the strong business skills and foundation to manage their careers.”


Jessop said the commercial side of training young artists is often ignored.


“Gaylen's vision is to change this,” he said. “To turn his vision and dream into reality, Gaylen came to the USU Department of Music with a proposal to work together, combining expertise and resources to accomplish this goal.”


R Legacy Entertainment has provided two gifts to Utah State University. The first was pledged to the Department of Music for general purposes. The second, a three–year pledge, will establish a professorship in the Caine College of the Arts and the Department of Music.


The immediate result of the collaboration is two–fold, Jessop said. The first gift promotes the musical arts and training in general, and its influence goes beyond the Music Department — the Old Lyric Repertory Company's 2010 production of Always…Patsy Cline is supported by the gift. Future plans call for increased collaborative efforts between the departments of music and theatre, emphasizing the development of an expanded musical theater program at USU.


The second gift supports a named professorship to begin curriculum development and lay the foundation to create a commercial music program to be based at Utah State University. While the details are in the developmental stages, the possibilities are endless, Jessop said.


R Legacy Entertainment was created as part of the Rust's interest in the arts and entertainment. Through the organization, a number of artistic ventures are supported, including a stable of young, up–and–coming entertainers.


Jessop said Gaylen Rust is a true entrepreneur with interests that range from the arts and entertainment to ranching. He is the owner of Rust Rare Coin, a business established by his father.


Introduced by mutual friends, Rust approached Jessop to explore his “dream” because he admired Jessop's work with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. With Jessop's many connections and associations in the music industry, the “fit” was a natural.


“Throughout the history of time, the arts have flourished thanks to generous benefactors,” Jessop said. “There isn't a time in history that this hasn't been true and it is certainly true today at Utah State University. Thanks to the vision and generosity of Gaylen Rust and his wife, Denise, and through his efforts with R Legacy Entertainment, many young artists will be given the tools for success.


“We are honored to be a partner in this endeavor.”


Patrick Williams


Number of endowments established during campaign significant

During the campaign, donors have established 139 endowments for student scholarship at Utah State. One of them was created by David Weeshoff, who established a scholarship endowment in memory of his wife Linda. Each year the elementary education student who receives the scholarship learns how it came about and why elementary education was important to Linda.


So, what is an endowment and why are they so important to universities? The definition of an endowment is fairly simple. It is an amount of money given for a specific purpose that is to be held and invested by the university and a portion of the earnings are to be used for the specific purpose annually. Unlike expendable gifts, endowments are invested to grow over time, and thus provide a permanent foundation of support for the university. Endowments can create scholarships in departments or colleges, fund a faculty position or provide program funding. The university's endowment refers to the aggregate of individual endowments.


Each endowment is governed by a statement of agreement where both the donor and the university agree to certain provisions. Endowments are important both because of what they represent and because of their permanence. The university agrees to preserve the donor's initial gift and use only interest and growth to fund the agreed upon purpose. Although donors are not legally allowed to choose the recipients of their endowments, they often have the chance to meet those recipients at awards banquets. Donors may also receive letters of thanks from grateful students.


President Stan Albrecht and F. Ross Peterson, vice president for university advancement, gave the initial gifts to begin the Aggie Promise Scholarship Endowment. The purpose of this scholarship is to support first–generation college students. These students have often overcome significant family and social obstacles to arrive on campus. This scholarship rewards their determination and encourages their potential.


One of the pivotal commitments of Utah State University is to provide access to quality higher education. Endowments fuel such access. An endowment for scholarship erases the boundaries between the financial haves and the have–nots. It allows the university to encourage the possible and to reward excellence. Since the beginning of the Campaign for Utah State University in July of 2003, a total of 173 new endowments for all purposes have been created for professorships, scholarships, programs and even travel for students to attend and present at national conferences.


For more information or to establish an endowment, please contact the Office of University Advancement, 435.797.1158 or 1.888.OLDMAIN.


Young Alumni Making a Difference

There are many ways for people to participate in USU's comprehensive campaign, and a new effort is underway to give young alumni, in particular, the chance to make a difference in the future of the university — and, of course, in the lives of the students like they themselves were just a few short years ago.


“We know that many of our young alumni are excited about maintaining a close relationship with Utah State and helping us where they can,” said Tonya Davis, associate director of the university's Annual Fund. “We also know, however, that many of them are in the beginning stages of professional careers or they have young families, so many are not in a position right now to make large financial commitments. But there are many important ways for them to stay connected and make a significant difference right now in the lives of our students.”


One way for Young Alumni to stay connected and informed is through social media. USU has an official LinkedIn group with more than 2,700 members and a USU Facebook page with more than 10,000 friends. A Young Alumni group was also recently created on Facebook and already has more than 180 members.


Young Alumni can have a direct impact on the success of Utah State by taking advantage of one of the many volunteer opportunities available, including mentoring current students, helping with efforts to recruit future Aggies, and helping plan Young Alumni events. Young Alumni can also make a difference at USU by making a financial contribution, even if it is small. The $18.88 Club, USU's newest giving society, is designed specifically for Young Alumni who don't have the capacity to give a large gift. Alumni ages 40 and under can become members of the club by pledging to give $18.88/month for 12 months. Gifts to the $18.88 Club are directed to the new Young Alumni Fund, and members of the club are given the opportunity (through a survey) to help determine exactly where these funds are directed.


“The Young Alumni fund is the first fund of its kind at USU that gives young alumni the opportunity to come together as a group and make a big difference on campus,” Davis said. “In its first year, the $18.88 Club has more than 130 members and has raised more than $12,000 for the Young Alumni Fund.”


The university has created a Young Alumni page to house all things “young alumni.” The page includes information about young alumni events, social networking links, career services, volunteer opportunities, alumni membership and the $18.88 Club (address: www.usu.edu/alumni/youngalumni ).