The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has announced it's hit its $75 million fund drive goal 18 months early and so it is pushing the target to $100 million. Good for them and all past and future contributors.
Have you driven past or through UALR lately? It's happening. I drove past families dropping students at the dorm last weekend and the spiffy student-oriented apartments on Asher on the former Coleman Dairy ground. The campus' growth (read on about new buildings, particularly for science and technology purposes) and cohesiveness are striking in comparison with its modest commuter-school roots. What's more, it's turning out an impressive number of information-age-equipped grads.
All this without a football team.
UALR NEWS RELEASE
Despite an economy that rivaled the Great Depression, UALR’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign has met its $75 million goal one and a half years before the seven-year campaign ends. With 18 months to go in the $75 million campaign, UALR has raised $76.9 million.
Chancellor Joel E. Anderson, announcing the early success of the University’s first ever comprehensive campaign Tuesday, said UALR will recalibrate the fundraising objective and raise the campaign goal to $100 million.
“The realities in our state and community require an ambitious vision,” Anderson said at the University Assembly on the eve of the start of the fall semester. “UALR is appropriately ambitious. This new goal underscores the continued ambition UALR has for Arkansas.”
The campaign — “It’s Time for UALR” — has processed over 75,000 gifts from 15,800 donors. The gifts were earmarked to benefit four areas of need, student support, faculty support, program support, and facility improvements.
Haskell Dickinson, volunteer chair of the comprehensive campaign, said 60 percent of the seven-figure gifts UALR received are targeted to enhance STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and math.
“It is gratifying to see private resources directed to our STEM related programs so important to the economic future of our state,” Dickinson said.
Because of campaign gifts, UALR has created 73 new, fully endowed privately funded scholarships and 23 more that are building to endowment. Dozens more annually awarded private scholarship accounts have also been created. All told, the campaign has created over 100 new private scholarship accounts.
Private gifts have helped fund the construction of four new campus facilities and aided in the renovation of two others. The Trinity Foundations $6 million gift to create electrical and mechanical engineering options in systems engineering is the largest single academic endowment gift in UALR’s history. The Bowen School of Law, the College of Engineering, and Information Technology and the Nanotechnolgy Center have all benefited from key faculty support gifts.
“While many priorities have been met, many more student, faculty and program support needs remain,” said Provost David O. Belcher. “We must create additional endowed deanships and support for rapidly growing programs critical to the economic and cultural success of Arkansas.”
Anderson, Dickinson, and other campaign managers are most proud of the $2.5 million contributed by UALR staff and faculty through the Campus Campaign. Jennifer McDonough, a Minneapolis-based philanthropic consultant, said more than 50 percent of all UALR employees made contributions to the campaign — one of the highest percentages of participation in the country.
“The past few years have been difficult economically, yet so many have embraced UALR's mission, students and campus community,” he said. “We all value and appreciate their generous support and will do everything possible to merit the continued confidence they place in us,” said Bob Denman, executive director of development and campaign manager.
The 2008 Wall Street crash and resulting financial instability forced other institutions to cancel or postpone their fundraising campaigns. UALR’s success in the face of unprecedented financial uncertainty is a strong endorsement of UALR.
“UALR is to be congratulated on the success of its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. UALR’s campaign was launched roughly 5.5 years ago and has already exceeded its $75 million goal,” McDonough said. “This represents a significant achievement especially for a first campaign. Nationally, campaigns had been averaging seven years with many institutions extending their time frames due to economic challenges over the past couple of years.