California State University, Fresno is one of three public comprehensive universities in the United States to receive a national award this year for dramatic improvements in fund-raising.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) will present Fresno State with an award for “outstanding improvement in fund¬raising” at the CASE International Assembly on July 19.

Dr. Peter N. Smits, vice president for University Advancement, will accept the award on behalf of Fresno State.

The only California public institution selected for an award, Fresno State was recognized for its success in overall fund-raising efforts based upon figures during a three-year period from 1995 to 1998, which shows an increase of 74 percent.

“By recognizing Fresno State’s outstanding improvements in fund-raising,

CASE is also commending thousands of alumni, friends and donors,” said Judge Robert H. Oliver, chair of the university foundation’s Board of Governors. “The deans, development officers and donors should be very proud of this.”

More than $20,760,447 in cash, securities and in-kind gifts made by individuals and organizations in 1998 helped set the highest record for fund raising in the university’s history.

Smits said this year’s fund-raising reports indicate that 1999 gifts will surpass last year’s record-breaking figures by another 20 percent.

Since 1995 the value of the university’s endowment account has increased by 148 percent, with a year-end value of about $52.3 million.

Among the highlights for last year’s gifts are several donors who made especially significant contributions. Earl and Muriel Smittcamp gave $3 million for the university’s new Honors College and a challenge match to build the Smittcamp Alumni House, now under construction.

The Sid and Jenny Craig Foundation contributed in excess of $500,000 in support of the Sid Craig School of Business for endowment support benefiting students and faculty.

As the first phase of a proposed campus science center, the Downing Planetarium is under construction with funds from a leadership gift of $1.2 million (over two years), from Dr. F. Harold Downing, a long-time Fresno resident. Seven key gifts to the university last year accounted for about one-third of the total $20,760,447.

“The ability of Fresno State to serve its community, the state and the country is greatly enhanced by the thousands of generous donors who believe in the value of the university and who have made this award possible,” Dr. John D. Welty, president of the university.

Since Welty’s arrival eight years ago Fresno State has raised more than $94 million with nearly two-thirds dedicated to academic purposes, according to the university’s foundation reports. The twenty largest gifts received by the university occurred during this period.

Fresno State was among 48 institutions chosen nationally, in 20 categories, to receive the CASE Circle of Excellence awards for overall fund-raising improvement. The list included only one other California institution —Westmont College, in the private liberal arts category.