Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2012

Far Above campaign aims to raise $1.2 billion for KU

Kansas University, seen from the air.

Kansas University, seen from the air.

August 19, 2012

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Lydia Beebe said she and her husband, Charles Doyle, are giving back to Kansas University so that others can have the same experiences they had.

“Part of it is we’re more able to give than other people,” said Beebe, who lives in San Francisco. “It’s a particularly important time for people to be generous because government funds are harder and harder to get in higher education.”

Their $1 million gift is part of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, a $1.2 billion capital campaign that had its public kickoff earlier this year but has actually been in progress for four years.

Beebe, corporate secretary and chief governance officer of Chevron Corp., and her husband, a retired United Airlines maintenance director and senior manager, both attended the KU School of Law. She graduated in 1977 and he followed in 1978.

The couple are giving half of their gift now and designating the other half as an estate gift. The first half should provide for at least one full-ride endowed scholarship, she said, and provide for classroom renovations in Green Hall.

“The opportunity we are afforded now with the public kickoff behind us is to speak to larger audiences,” said Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association.

The association will be taking its show on the road soon, hosting events at locations across the country where large numbers of KU alumni live.

“Those events give us the opportunity for face-to-face communication with donors, friends and alumni of the university,” Seuferling said. “And after that will be more of a direct mail and marketing phase of the campaign.”

KU deans have submitted wish lists for their schools. Although those lists include a few major capital projects, it’s scholarships, faculty professorships and chairmanships that are carrying the day, along with a few requests for new programs.

A few of the major capital projects have been made public. KU has announced its intention to construct a new Energy and Environment Center that includes a 40,000-square-foot expansion of Lindley Hall, a project that already has attracted a $5 million pledge from Chesapeake Energy Corp. A leadership gift will provide the basis this fall for a new building for KU’s School of Business, and a new student center to be built near Allen Fieldhouse will serve as the permanent home for James Naismith’s rules of basketball donated by alumnus David Booth.

“These are significant projects that will have a lasting impact on the university,” Seuferling said.

More than half of the money for the campaign, $612 million, has already been raised. Seuferling said the association will likely release another update on how much has been raised at the association’s annual meeting in the fall. The campaign is set to run through June 2016.

Beebe is involved in a law school steering committee for the campaign and will be out again interacting with other donors to see whether she can help generate even more money for the school.

“I really do think we’re all in this together,” she said.

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