State of the University
Casteen warns of ‘tough work’ ahead on $3 billion campaign
By Dan Heuchert
The University’s $3 billion capital campaign is aimed at placing U.Va. among the top 10 to 15 schools — public or private — in the nation over the next decade, and the trajectory of its results to date is positive, President John T. Casteen III said March 22 during his annual “State of the University” address.
Fifteen months into the campaign’s so-called silent phase — “which means we talk about it everywhere,” Casteen quipped — the University had raised more than $600 million. That puts the campaign just past 20 percent of the way to its goal with only about 14.5 percent of its allotted time to raise the money having elapsed.
Raising $3 billion “is a huge challenge,” he acknowledged. It is also “critically important,” he added, that the University — a public university that stands for public education — “has to achieve this level of excellence,” even though “the obstacles are considerable and are going to require a lot of consolidated work.”
“Mr. [Robert] Sweeney [senior vice president for development and public affairs] and those who plan the campaign are doing really extraordinary work,” he said.
The campaign is structured to raise about $1 billion for bricks and mortar projects; another billion for an “investment in people,” including salaries, fellowships and scholarships; and the remaining billion for unrestricted
endowment, he said.
Casteen warned of the possibility of becoming arrogant and out of touch, and failing to maintain the accountability required particularly of a public institution, which he said would be “a really fatal mistake.
“We won’t fail at this [campaign], but it’s important to start by saying we can,” Casteen said.
Referring to the most recent capital campaign, which raised $1.4 billion after setting an initial goal of $700 million, he said, “I told your predecessors, and many of you, a decade ago when we started our last step in this direction that this was going to be tough. It was tough. It was also transcendental.”
The payoff for this campaign, he said, will be similar.
“We’ve learned self-sufficiency. We’ve learned to stand on our own feet. This is the chance to do that, and in the process of doing it to achieve goals for the institution, for our departments, for those who study and work here that will set, I believe, important new standards for public education in our time.”
Casteen spent much of the 78-minute address offering a snapshot of the University in 2005, giving status reports on several high-profile
The new AccessUVa financial-aid initiative attracted 813 prospective applicants with family incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, he said. Of those, 262 qualified for admission, with 153 more undergoing further evaluation. “I would say these numbers are promising,” Casteen said.
The planned replacement of the Alderman Road first-year student residences, which he likened to “the Holiday Inns that were built in the 1970s,” have sparked a discussion about the University’s long-term student housing plans, he said. “It seems to me to be a conversation that ought to be more extensive,” he said, urging faculty members in particular to become more involved.
Casteen outlined the progress of several capital projects. An addition to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory was completed this month. A new hospital addition is scheduled to come online in June, with other hospital renovations scheduled for completion in August 2006. The new Observatory Hill replacement dining facility should open this August. Chiller plants at the Engineering and Architecture schools will be ready in August and December, respectively. In 2006, Fayerweather Hall renovations are scheduled to be completed in February, and both the Cocke Hall renovations and the John Paul Jones Arena completed in June.
Casteen also gave status reports on efforts to fill various leadership vacancies. The committee seeking a dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science is preparing to conduct off-Grounds interviews, while the committee seeking a new Darden dean is likely to make recommendations in April. The goal is to have the University’s first chief officer for diversity and equity on the job by July 1, which is also the target date to hire a new chancellor for U.Va.’s College at Wise. The University is in the initial stages of seeking a replacement for Miller Center of Public Affairs director Philip Zelikow, who recently took a position in the U.S. State Department.
Casteen expressed concern over a rash of violent incidents on or near Grounds, and called on University community members to remain vigilant and look out for one another.