To celebrate 25 consecutive semesters in which its student-athletes achieved a collective grade-point average of 3.0 or better, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has launched a $25 for 25 fundraising campaign.

For the next 90 days, SIUE is asking all alumni, faculty, staff, fans and friends to donate $25 to the Cougar Athletic Excellence Fund, the athletic department's fundraising arm. According to siuecougars.com, the mission of the Cougar Athletic Excellence Fund is to create an impactful experience for SIUE student-athletes in the classroom and on the field/court by providing financial support through philanthropic gifts.

The goal of the campaign is to gain 200 donors at a minimum of $25. That total would cover one in-state semester of tuition and fees for a student-athlete (12 semester hours of classwork/$4,852.80 in 2018-19).

The department completed the fall semester with a combined 3.311 grade point average. Twelve teams earned a GPA above 3.0, nine of which were above a 3.3. Volleyball recorded the highest GPA for the third consecutive semester with a 3.743 — the third-highest GPA in the school's history since moving to Division I. Volleyball was also one of seven teams that had more than 50 percent of their rosters earn Dean's List honors. Volleyball, at 93 percent, was joined by softball (65), men's golf (62), women's soccer (61), women's basketball (58), women's track and field (58) and men's cross country (57).

"The pursuit of academic excellence is of paramount importance to our institution, department and student-athletes," said SIUE director of athletics Brad Hewitt. "Our donors, alumni and friends are a big part of achieving this goal, and I personally want to thank them in advance for their consideration in supporting $25 for 25."

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.