As the Kansas University Endowment Association announced it had raised a record $153.2 million, it also announced the name of an upcoming comprehensive fundraising campaign.
The name, “Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas,” does, however, bear a certain resemblance to another university’s campaign that’s been going on for several years.
An Ivy League school has been running a campaign since 2006 called “Far Above... The Campaign for Cornell.”
Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, said the organization came up with the name independently before a staffer realized that Cornell had been using the same name.
In brainstorming sessions, Seuferling said that an idea had been floated using two other lyrics of KU’s alma mater before everyone agreed to focus on “Far Above.”
Seuferling said KU placed a call to Cornell as a courtesy to let it know that KU would be using the name.
“They appreciated us letting them know,” he said.
The universities also agreed that they probably wouldn’t be targeting the same sorts of donors, given their different constituencies and geographic areas, Seuferling said.
Simeon Moss, director of media relations for the Cornell campaign, said the university had no issue with KU’s choice.
“We have no problem with the name the University of Kansas has selected and, actually, we are kind of fond of their selection,” he wrote in an email.
The two universities share a few connections. The name of the campaign is a reference to the first few words of KU’s alma mater, which starts “Far above the golden valley.” The music to the song (and many of the lyrics) was lifted from Cornell’s alma mater, “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters.”
And Seuferling pointed out that one of KU’s chancellors, Deane Waldo Malott, left KU to become Cornell’s sixth president.
“There’s a lot of similar campaign names out there,” he said, noting that two other recent KU campaigns, KU First and Campaign Kansas, both have many similar names at other universities.
“Leading the way” and “leadership” seem to pop up all over the place, too, he said.
Regardless of its name and whoever else might be using a similar one, the campaign is still scheduled for a public kickoff next April.
And, Seuferling said, the results are going well so far, as indicated by the generous support of donors in recent years. That includes the 2011 year’s record total, which included gifts, current pledges and future commitments in support of both KU and KU Hospital.
“The philanthropic support numbers for last year reflect the impact of campaign contributions,” he said. “There’s a lot of work being done.”
In the 2010 fiscal year, donors contributed $110.2 million in gifts and pledges, $10.3 million in deferred gift commitments and $1.9 million in gifts directly to KU, for a total of $122.4 million.