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Archive for Friday, August 12, 2005

KU Endowment Association plans beyond record fundraiser

August 12, 2005

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With a splashy $653 million fundraising drive under its belt, the Kansas University Endowment Association is looking to adjust to life behind the scenes once again.

The KU First: Invest in Excellence campaign wrapped up in January, far surpassing its initial $500 million goal. Now, leaders are trying to continue the campaign's success into the future.

"There is an adjustment period going into how we approach the year and how we fashion our fundraising plan, without a campaign and the energy that comes along with it," said Dale Seuferling, the association's president.

That means figuring out a new list of priorities for fundraising. Some of those, especially scholarships for students, are continuing from the campaign. There also are several goals from the campaign that remain unfunded, including a new science building, an addition to the Spencer Museum of Art and an expansion of the Natural History Museum.

Other goals, including facilities improvements and other goals, will be identified by individual departments and schools going into the future.

Campaign impact

The campaign's mark on campus can be seen through buildings, professorships, scholarships and other imprints.

The campaign started in 1998 with a "quiet phase." Its official public, gala kickoff was Sept. 7, 2001 - just four days before the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

"We had that great event, then Sept. 11 happened and everything kind of went into a blue funk and the markets went down," said Forrest Hoglund of Dallas, the campaign's chairman. "I know some wondered if we would make the $500 million."

But the campaign managed to pass the goal. Specifically, the money given by more than 100,000 donors included:

¢ $113.6 million for student support, including the creation of 493 new scholarships.

¢ $65.5 million for faculty support, including the creation of 65 new endowed professorships.

¢ $132.3 million for research programs and facilities.

¢ $97 million for building improvements and new structures.

It was the largest fundraising drive in university history, more than doubling the $265.3 million raised in "Campaign Kansas," which ran from 1987 to 1992.

"I think it was awfully successful," said David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor. "You can see a lot of tangible things. You look at what's happened at this university in the last six to eight years, and you see impacts all over the place. The whole feel of the place is so much better."

Shulenburger said the campaign, combined with large tuition increases, have meant KU could move ahead in tight budget times.

"These would have been very different years without the tuition and the campaign," Shulenburger said.

Future goals

Now, KU is focused on fundraising into the future. Seuferling said donations during noncampaign times typically are done predominately by staff and KU officials instead of campaign volunteers.

"We feel good about how the campaign was received by our alumni and donor constituents," Seuferling said. "A campaign is focused around the energy level of the campaign, with significant involvement of volunteers. Our time now is sort of a different kind of operational focus in terms of trying to identify new sources of funds and engage new people."

Seuferling said scholarships and other student support would be among the top priorities for university fundraisers for the next few years.

University capital campaigns typically occur about once a decade. That means the Endowment Association could be gearing up for another campaign in the next five years.

"One has to be realistic," Seuferling said. "It's a cycle. Things change at the university. Leadership and priorities change. New opportunities become available. We look at the significant directions of higher education and how those change."

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