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Rotunda Campaign Comes to a Close; $159 Million Raised in Last Month

At More Than $1.43 Billion, University of Virginia Fund-Raising Total Exceeds All Expectations

March 14, 2001-- December 31, 2000 will long be remembered in the history of the University of Virginia. On that day, the Campaign for the University officially concluded, marking the end of a fund-raising effort that took the better part of a decade. The results have been tallied, and they were officially reported today to the Campaign Executive Committee. The total: $1,427,912,522 in gifts, pledges and other commitments.

"The University is indebted to all of its loyal volunteers and generous donors who more than a decade ago joined us on what seemed, at the time, a most difficult journey," said University President John T. Casteen III. "They met every challenge and every new goal, working tirelessly to raise private funds to enhance our great university and prepare it to meet future aspirations. Our success belongs to them."

The campaign total is the second-highest amount ever raised by a single public university. Last week the University of California at Berkeley announced the close of its campaign, which also ended in December, with a record sum of $1.44 billion.

Exceeding all expectations, the U.Va. campaign ran counter to the standard model in several ways, according to Robert D. Sweeney, the University's vice president for development. Typically, such fund-raising efforts lose steam over time, he said. Propelled by major gifts early in the process, they usually peak at about their midpoint and then taper off. That was hardly the pattern shown in the University's seven-year appeal.

In the final month of the campaign, donors committed $159 million, nearly 16 percent of the campaign's goal or 11 percent of the campaign total.

Generous commitments also kick-started the drive. By the weekend of Oct. 6, 1995, when the campaign began its five-year public phase, the University had raised more than $350 million toward what was then a $750 million goal. But that was just the beginning. The campaign's last year became its most successful, bringing more than $200 million in commitments to the University and its schools and programs.

When campaign planning began in the early 1990s, University officials and members of the Board of Visitors envisioned a goal of $350 million to $500 million.

The University at that time was determined to enter the 21st century able to finance its long-term commitments to academic excellence. Beginning in 1990, the Commonwealth of Virginia started to cut into its support for higher education, and U.Va. realized that without increased private support, it could not sustain the quality of its programs. Between '90 and '95, the portion of state funds in the University's budget dropped from 27 percent to 12 percent. Today, the University receives 14.4 percent of its budget from the state.

Despite this, the University has managed to remain among the top 25 universities in the country in the annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report and is currently tied with the University of California at Berkeley as the No. 1 public institution.

Some 142,000 donors took part in the campaign, including alumni, parents of current and former students, friends of the institution, corporations and foundations.

Getting a head start on the rest of the institution, the Jefferson Scholars Program, the Darden School and the Law School began fund-raising efforts in 1990, 1991 and 1992, respectively. The quiet phase of the campaign for the rest of the University began on July 1, 1993, and early success prompted the University to set the bar at $750 million at the 1995 public kickoff.

Three years later, in February 1998, the Campaign Executive Committee recommended to the Board of Visitors that they raise the goal to $1 billion. The board approved the increase, and the campaign continued to pick up speed, posting successively higher totals each year. Bolstered by a $60 million gift from Frank Batten (College of Arts and Sciences '50) for the Darden School, the campaign topped the $1 billion mark in December 1999, a year ahead of schedule.

The campaign's imprint can be seen across the Grounds, most notably in the new and expanded facilities completed or under construction for Arts & Sciences, law, graduate business, medicine, and athletics. The campaign also has provided funds for new structures planned for the University Library, the arts, engineering and undergraduate business. Less visible but equally significant is the campaign's human impact. With commitments to endow 154 professorships, 122 fellowships and 616 scholarships, the campaign has reaped enormous benefits for students and faculty.

In addition to endowment gifts and contributions for capital improvements, the campaign has greatly increased the level of annual giving from alumni and other members of the University family. During the course of the campaign, the University pursued a target of $86.7 million in annual giving, a vital source of unrestricted operating support for its schools and programs. The campaign surpassed this goal in March 2000.

The campaign also aimed high in its pursuit of future support, such as bequests and similar deferred gifts. Counted separately from other campaign commitments because donors can change such provisions in their estate plans, future support received in the campaign topped $218 million, more than double the $100 million goal.

Of the $1.43 billion raised, $638 million (45 percent) came from alumni and $307 million (21 percent) from non-alumni, including $22 million from parents. The campaign also received $174 million from corporations, $239 million from foundations and $70 million from other organizations.

Contact: Carol Wood, (804) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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