University fundraising campaign promises ‘Brilliant Futures’
"Brilliant Futures: The Campaign for the University of Illinois” has reached 60 percent – $1.343 billion – of its $2.25 billion goal, the UI Foundation recently announced. Alumni have pledged to contribute $451 million, corporations and businesses $180 million, and other donors have committed to $115 million.
Of the money raised thus far, $964.8 million is earmarked for the Urbana-Champaign campus, which has a goal of $1.5 billion. More than $291 million in unrestricted funds has been raised for colleges, schools, departments or other units at Urbana. About $146 million has been donated to specific programs, $81 million to specific research, $74 million to scholarships, $62 million to facilities and the remainder to other purposes.
“This campaign is an essential element in the university achieving its aspirational goals,” said James Schroeder, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and senior vice president of the UI Foundation. “Our success to date is the result of many alumni and friends who share our vision for the future.”
Donations and gifts raised for the Urbana campus will support initiatives in five key areas as outlined in Chancellor Richard Herman’s Strategic Plan: providing leadership for the 21st century, strengthening excellence in academic programs, encouraging breakthrough knowledge and innovation, creating transformative learning environments and ensuring access to the Illinois experience.
The plan is to raise $175 million for undergraduate scholarships, $135 million for fellowships for graduate students, $300 million for endowed chairs and professorships, $525 million to support research programs and $465 million for facilities, equipment, library materials and other projects at the Urbana campus.
The goal for the Chicago campus is $650 million, $28 million for the Springfield campus, and for the UI Foundation and university administration the goal is $72 million.
Planning for the Brilliant Futures campaign began in July 2003. When the UI kicked off the campaign’s public phase in June 2007, it was one of the largest fundraising campaigns waged by a public university at the time and the 11th largest campaign in the nation.
The UI is one of 28 U.S. universities that is attempting to raise at least $1 billion, according to a recent report by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking the campaigns.
Brilliant Futures is the UI’s third comprehensive capital campaign. The Campaign for Illinois, which ran from 1979 – 1985, exceeded its $100 million goal by $37 million. The university’s second drive, Campaign Illinois, was launched in 1991 with a goal of $1 billion and closed at the end of 2000 with gifts totaling $1.53 billion.
The Brilliant Futures campaign will continue through Dec. 31, 2011.
“I come from an Illinois family,” Michael Andrejasich said. Indeed he does. When Andrejasich’s daughter, Jessica, accepted her UI diploma earlier this week, she joined him as an alumnus of the School of Architecture, from which he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His other daughter, Elizabeth, who was awarded her master’s degree in library science this week, also holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Additionally, Andrejasich’s wife, Laura Roberts-Andrejasich, is an alumna of the College of Education, and his father, Frank, earned a degree from the College of Engineering. The list goes on and includes a brother, a nephew and several cousins.
A professor of architecture and associate dean of undergraduate affairs in FAA, Andrejasich honors that Illinois family legacy through annual gifts to the colleges and departments that have contributed to his family’s success. “I figure I owe my whole life to the UI,” said Andrejasich, who is a Chancellor’s Circle donor and has a President’s Council pledge. “In exchange for the benefits I’ve gained, it’s a small gift. In a little way, it’s giving back to what got us here.”
Some of the Andrejasiches’ gifts go to an endowment that provides discretionary funds for one of the units they support. As state appropriations have diminished to the level of less than one-fourth of the university’s operating budget, annual gifts have become essential to maintaining educational quality, Andrejasich said.
“In the day-to-day business of running a program at this university, there’s always those gaps that aren’t covered by your general fund. You may have gift agreements – whether it’s scholarships or endowed chairs – that have specific purposes, but at the end of the day, a good idea or a need comes along that requires an action, and you really have to turn to your unit discretionary money,” Andrejasich said. “It’s not like putting your name on a building, a scholarship or a faculty endowed chair because it may be used to buy paper clips or pay the phone bill. But those are the things that are absolutely necessary to a quality program as well.”
Illinois loyalty and a desire to help maintain the excellence of the College of Business, and specifically the department of finance’s programs, is what spurs emeritus professor Morgan Lynge’s giving. In addition to having been a faculty member for more than three decades, Lynge earned an A.B. degree in history and a master of business administration degree at the Urbana campus in 1964 and 1965 respectively. With a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Michigan (1975), Lynge’s Illinois career came full circle when he returned to the Urbana campus as a faculty member.
Over the years, he served as associate dean for undergraduate affairs and as chair of the department of finance in the College of Business. He also recognizes the increasing importance of annual giving.
“The bulk of my professional career has been spent as a member of this college’s faculty,” Lynge said. “And to some extent, the luster of my career is tarnished or burnished by the achievements of this college, in particular my department. Over the years, I’ve been well aware of that fact, and I’ve felt a great deal of loyalty to my college. As people make a financial commitment, their commitment level to the organization goes up. And I think it’s important to ask faculty members to make commitments to their organization.”
Throughout much of Lynge’s 34-year career in the college, there had been discussion about erecting a new facility. And to see the dream realized and the college’s new instructional building rise from the ground at the corner of Sixth Street and Gregory Drive has “really been a bright spot for me,” Lynge said. “I was proud that Dean Avijit Ghosh got it done.”
Lynge and his colleagues helped realize that vision through their gifts to the Investing in Faculty Excellence campaign. Lynge garnered the support of the college’s faculty members and emeriti faculty members by writing letters, making countless phone calls and chatting one-on-one. Lynge’s efforts paid off: past and present college faculty members responded generously, and the campaign’s $300,000 goal was surpassed by 10 percent.
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