U sees 18 percent more alumni donors in current fiscal year

Latasha Webb

Hoping to counter the effects of a lower-than-expected 2001 budget, University officials spent the past six months pursuing alumni for donations.

The approach seems to be working – the University has already seen an 18 percent increase in the number of donors since the last fiscal year.

In the first six months of fiscal year 2002, 17,440 alumni donated. In fiscal year 2001, the University had 14,800 alumni donations.

Al and Ann Stolee, 1969 graduates, said they believe University graduates want to see the school succeed.

“There is a need for funding, and I would like the University to continue as a high-quality institution,” Ann Stolee said.

Linda Berg, vice president for marketing and communications for the University Foundation, said the University increased contact with alumni in the last year in an effort to increase giving.

The effort included hiring more student callers to reach alumni and increasing advertisements and mailings.

The increased efforts this year have helped the University find more alumni who are willing to give but haven’t before. Of the alumni donors this year, 16 percent are first-time givers.

Martha Douglas, communications director for the University Foundation, said the University is proud that alumni have responded to the increased need and said students can find evidence of alumni support everywhere on campus.

History sophomore Brandon Truscio was skeptical of the donations’ effects.

“I don’t know where that money goes. I don’t know when we would see the effects,” he said.

Fellow sophomore Ted Tegen said he is equally unaware of how alumni gifts are allocated.

“I would think tuition would go down, but isn’t it going up?” he said.

Douglas said students should not expect to see changes immediately after a donor increase.

Students experience the result of alumni giving when they go to an adviser, a computer lab or study abroad, she said. Alumni also donated one-third of the costs for the Carlson School of Management building and half the costs of the art building currently under construction.

“There is a perception that since giving is up, tuition should lower,” she said. “But students will feel more of a difference in the scholarship area.”

The amount of money available for scholarships has doubled in recent years.

“At least 470 scholarship funds and 200 fellowship funds have been created,” Douglas said. “Money coming from gifts doesn’t necessarily affect operation expenses or salaries.”

Latasha Webb welcomes comments at [email protected]