UT Announces $1 Billion Campaign; Now 70 Percent to Goal

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The University of Tennessee today officially launched its $1 billion fundraising campaign to enhance programs of excellence at all of the university’s campuses and institutes.

The University of Tennessee today officially launched its $1 billion fundraising campaign to enhance programs of excellence at all of the university’s campuses and institutes.

The Campaign for Tennessee — the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history — places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.

According to Hershel P. Wall, MD, chancellor, the UT Health Science Center’s goal within the UT Systemwide Campaign is $180 million. “We are a little more than half-way to our goal, and our faculty and staff have given more than $10 million of the total through the Family Campaign,” he said.

Accompanied by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Andrea Loughry, UT President John Petersen announced that $704,007,696 has been raised at a gathering of campaign volunteers held at Pratt Pavilion on the Knoxville campus.

“This is a historic day for the University of Tennessee and a time to celebrate the university’s successes. We extend our thanks to the many volunteers and supporters who’ve helped us achieve this unprecedented amount,” said Petersen. “We also look forward to a continued momentum to further engage alumni and friends in achieving the university’s goals.”

The campaign seeks support for initiatives that impact student access and success, research, economic development, outreach and goals for globalization.

Jim Haslam, along with his wife, Natalie, and Brenda Lawson of Chattanooga serve as co-chairs of the Campaign for Tennessee.

“We have the distinct honor to be part of a powerful effort that will have an enormous impact on the state and its residents for many years to come,” said Jim Haslam, founder of Pilot Oil Corp. “Each day we have been reminded that the University of Tennessee family is a large one that extends all over the world. We have especially enjoyed meeting with supporters and learning more about the enduring connection that compels them to invest in the university’s future.”

Funds are raised through outright gifts and pledges, planned gifts and private grants for research.

Approximately 80 percent of the money raised to this point is from individuals and families, with 12 percent from corporations and 8 percent from foundations. The more than $700 million total involves gifts and pledges received from about 88,000 donors.

“Partnerships are the key to every strategic effort. Funds raised will enhance and supplement, but in no way supplant support from the state of Tennessee,” said Petersen. “Increasing private support, however, clearly demonstrates how much UT is valued by our citizens. That kind of success will encourage increased investment from all sources.”

Campaign priorities include endowed scholarships and professorships, chairs of excellence, building enhancements and other innovative faculty and student programs.

Traditionally — and in the case of the university’s $1 billion endowment — more than 98 percent of all gifts are restricted, meaning they are to be used for a specific scholarship, program or objective relating to the donor’s interest. Therefore, private dollars rarely are designated to cover the university’s operational costs, which rely on state support and tuition.

“In light of the increasing costs of a college education, scholarship gifts provide greater access for qualified students to attend UT. Gifts for faculty support enable the campuses and units to recruit and retain the very best faculty to offer the highest quality of education and student experience,” said Loughry.

Loughry noted that significant leadership gifts have enabled the campaign’s impressive progress, but stressed the need to engage many alumni and friends in the effort.

“Along with a wonderful way to connect to the university in an exciting initiative that will have a transformational impact, this opportunity drives home the point that support comes in many forms and that every gift counts and contributes to the long-term success of the university,” said Loughry.

Current, former and retired employees have contributed more than $48.7 million through the Family Campaign that was held in 2007. The effort involved gifts and pledges from more than 11,000 people. Employee giving has increased with participation rates of between 26 percent and 54 percent at UT’s campuses and units.

The announcement was followed by a celebration held at Thompson Boling Assembly Center and Arena involved 800 invited guests and more than 400 students, faculty and staff. Representing campuses and institutes from across the state, the student programs were spotlighted throughout the evening.