Intensive fundraising campaign planned

The University is in the exploratory phase of a comprehensive fundraising campaign, which will span years and aim to increase development across all facets of the institution.

The campaign will incorporate all schools and departments, although goals and a timeline will not be announced until the end of the fiscal year in June.

“Our sense of urgency has never been greater,” Vice President for Development Mike Morsberger said, noting the groundbreaking for the Science and Engineering Hall next week.

The University raised a record $113.5 million last year, a figure Morsberger said he hopes to surpass by 5 to 10 percent this year. Formal development goals for the current year will be set at next week’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Deans, trustees and administrators will organize the University’s priorities, lay out a timeline and identify top donor prospects during the “quiet phase” of the campaign.

The last comprehensive campaign, which ended in 2003, spanned 11 years and raised $552 million.

The campaign will emphasize alumni engagement and large gift procurement.

About 10 percent of alumni give to the University annually, an amount similar to peer institutions, but Morsberger hopes to see an increase in coming years.

“We can do better than that,” he said. “There’s so many people whose doors we haven’t knocked on yet.”

The University sees about 10 gifts of $1 million or more annually, a number it hopes will rise.

“Moving forward, we’re going to have to count on even more than that,” Morsberger said.

The overarching strategy of developing personal connections with donors will not change, Morsberger said.

The fundraising campaign comes on the heels of an overhaul of the University’s strategic and communication plans.

“So three of my vice presidents this year are involved in big planning operations,” University President Steven Knapp said. “It’s great to have those all happening at the same time so that they can cross-fertilize and really make sure that we come out with a strong united strategic vision.”

The four largest recipients of development money – student aid, faculty, programs and facilities – will remain the same, Morsberger said, adding that faculty recruitment and research will be fundraising priorities moving forward.

“Our 200th anniversary, our bicentennial, is in 2021,” Morsberger said. “That’s not lost on us.”

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