Campaign UConn Launches with $300 Million Goal
By Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut today launched
the most ambitious private fund-raising campaign ever conducted
by a public university in
New England -- Campaign UConn. The goal is to raise $300 million
in private funds for endowments, scholarships and programmatic
enhancements at UConn
In preliminary campaign work underway since 1998, the University
has raised $150.2 million, slightly more than half the goal.
Campaign UConn intends to
increase annual private giving from the $20 million level of 1998
to $70 million a year by 2004. All campuses and professional
schools will be included in the
"Perception is now a reality -- UConn is a place where great
things are happening," President Philip E. Austin said during a
campaign kick-off on the plaza of the
Homer Babbidge Library. With the facilities upgrades to UConn
campuses since the UCONN 2000 capital improvement program was
passed by the General
Assembly in 1995, and the private funds that will be raised through
Campaign UConn, the University will be "a model for public higher
education in the 21st
century," Austin said.
The private fund-raising will increase support for faculty,
students and programs. "We have to think about enhancing our
academic programs even further --
that's what this campaign is all about," said Judith A. Kelly,
professor of molecular and cell biology and a member of the
Campaign Steering Committee.
The physical improvements to UConn's campuses in recent years,
coupled with athletic and academic successes, are making the
University "a magnet" for
attracting high quality students, said Brian Williams, MSNBC
anchor and keynote speaker at the campaign kick-off. His own
13-year-old daughter saw a UConn
window sticker on a car just yesterday when they were stuck in
traffic, Williams said, and she asked, "What if I go to UConn?"
Already recognized as the premier public university in New
England, UConn has set its sights on becoming one of the top 25
public universities in the nation,
joining the ranks of institutions such as the University of
California at Berkeley and the universities of Michigan, Virginia,
and Wisconsin. All of these institutions
have major private fund-raising programs.
"Public funding is the vital foundation on which private giving
builds," said Austin. "Private funding supplements, it does not
supplant. It adds value to something
already worthy; it creates a margin of excellence on a platform
Currently, state support accounts for less than half of UConn's
budget. Tuition and student fees, the other major revenue source,
account for about a third.
Of the $300 million raised in Campaign UConn, half will go toward
the University's endowment and half toward programs and facilities.
About $75 million will
be directed to endowed faculty positions -- chairs and professorships
that are supported in part by the income from the investment
of endowed funds. The
prestige of a named, endowed chair enables a university to recruit
and retain top academic talent. In all, the campaign seeks to
triple the number of endowed
faculty positions at UConn. Currently there are 47 endowed chairs
and 12 endowed professorships at all campuses.
Another $75 million will be designated for student scholarships
and the Honors Program, which helps recruit academically talented
Connecticut high school
students to UConn. Half the goal will be directed toward enhancing
undergraduate and graduate programs and improving facilities that
are ineligible for UConn
2000 building funds.
UConn's current total endowment, or privately raised savings that
are invested, is approximately $210 million, up from $50 million
just six years ago.
Besides providing facilities funding for UConn, the state's UCONN
2000 program has encouraged private support for UConn by matching
private donations to
the endowment. The current match is 1:2 -- or one state dollar for
every two eligible private dollars.
By increasing its endowment and private fund-raising efforts,
UConn joins a trend in public higher education. The University of
Massachusetts ended its first
comprehensive fund-raising campaign in 2000, raising $130 million.
The University of New Hampshire is in the midst of a five-year
campaign to raise
$100 million. The University of Virginia recently completed a
seven-year campaign in which it raised $1.43 billion, or nearly
double its original goal.
Major commitments to Campaign UConn so far include $23 million
from alumnus Ray Neag (class of '56), for whom the School of
Education is now named;
$4.9 million from United Technologies Corp.; $3.9 million from
alumnus Samuel J. Orr, Jr. (class of '40 and '61 School of Law);
and an $11 million investment
by the General Electric family of companies-GE Fund, GE
Industrial Systems, and GE Capital. Denis J. Nayden (class of '76,
School of Business '77), chairman
and chief executive officer of GE Capital, chairs the Steering
Committee for Campaign UConn.
As Nayden said at Thursday's kick-off, "I get questions all the
time-- why does UConn need private fund raising?" The answer, he
said, is "To raise the extra
money to take the University to the next level of excellence."
May 2001 Releases