SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Actor John Goodman arrived in Springfield Saturday to celebrate raising hundreds of millions of dollars for scholarships and facilities improvements at Missouri State University, his alma mater.

The John Goodman Amphitheater opened last week and is open for all students at Missouri State to use. It’s just one of the ways funds will be used to further students’ education.

“I think, for talented kids to come down here and go. They’ll have a home down here,” said MSU alum John Goodman.

Tonight, a celebration of “Onward Upward”, the largest fundraising campaign in Missouri State University history. The campaign received contributions from more than 60,000 donors.

“What we try to do is make college affordable so students can take as little debt as possible to get through,” said Missouri State University President Cliff Smart.

MSU alumnus and campaign chair John Goodman said that this campaign is special because gives students the opportunity to fund their schooling through various scholarships and lessens the stress of how they will continue their education the same way he was able to.

“I couldn’t afford to go to college, I was in here on what they call National Advanced Education Loan, and I was lucky enough after a couple of years to start receiving scholarships, which is probably beneficial,” said Goodman.

$250 million was the original campaign target, but they surpassed their goal by $24 million.

The campaign raised:

  • Nearly $80 million in new scholarships.
  • More than $70 million in funding for new buildings and facility improvements.
  • More than $118 million to support academic programs.
  • $5 million in faculty support.

All the money will go to the new scholarships, improved programs, and facilities, like the John Goodman Amphitheater that just opened on campus last week.

Brent Dunn, executive director of the MSU foundation explains that donations will benefit students for decades to come.

“Someone that makes a minimum scholarship, endowment scholarship, 25,000, that scholarship lives forever and forever’s a long time. And it will help students of generation after generation after generation.” Said Dunn

In addition to helping students graduate with less debt, the fund will also be used to update technology and buildings on campus.