June 6, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 19

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    Goal well within reach as campaign nears end

    Heading toward its June 30 end date, the University's historic Campaign for the Next Century has raised more than $641 million of its $650 million goal and has surpassed all previous fundraising records at Chicago.

    Campaign leaders emphasized that gifts of all sizes will be important in reaching the goal and helping the University maintain its excellence in research and teaching, and they expressed confidence that the goal will be surpassed by the end of this month.

    "The unprecedented response we've had from trustees and alumni, from faculty and from friends of the University gives us great confidence that the goal will be met and exceeded. The only question is, by how much?" President Sonnenschein said. "Our volunteer leadership and Development Office staff have done a remarkable job in explaining the importance of the campaign to the University's future and in generating entirely new levels of support."

    More than 88,000 individual donors, including 56 percent of all graduates of the University, have made contributions to the campaign since it began in 1991, and nearly $200 million in new endowment for faculty, students and programs has been raised to date.

    The campaign has focused on endowment for faculty support and student financial aid, as well as on construction funds for a much-needed new athletic center. It has also raised significant support for library materials, campus renovations and building projects that include the Gleacher Center downtown, the Biological Sciences Learning and Research Center, the new Middle School building at the Laboratory Schools and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine.

    "Our success in this campaign positions the University well for the financial challenges of the next century," said Randy Holgate, Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations. "We have significantly broadened our fundraising capabilities and strengthened our relationships with alumni and with others who appreciate the importance of the University's work."

    Holgate pointed out that annual cash progress -- funds the University actually receives during the year, as opposed to planned gifts and pledges -- has increased dramatically through the course of the campaign. Chicago received just under $80 million in fiscal year 1991-92, just prior to the start of the campaign. By 1994-95, the figure had climbed to $99.1 million. By the end of this month, the figure for 1995-96 is expected to top out at more than $110 million.

    "This campaign has created a lot of excitement about the University and has increased awareness of what it takes to keep a great university great. We think that awareness translates into resources if nurtured carefully over time," Holgate said.

    Already, the University's central development office is working closely with deans, the Provost's Office and development officers across campus to set new fundraising priorities for the years after the campaign, and efforts begun during the campaign -- including the funding of the Oriental Institute expansion and a new athletics center -- will continue.

    Trustee Harvey Plotnick, chairman of the campaign, said that Chicago's enhanced fundraising ability is essential to meeting the challenges facing higher education in general and Chicago in particular.

    "Continued and energetic fundraising is an absolutely critical part of the University's future," he said. "It is not a 'magic bullet,' but it is an essential component in an equation that will lead to the University's long-term financial vitality. The research and teaching that go on at this University are simply too important not to move forward at the same level of excellence they always have."