U reaches

by Erin Ghere

Just two months after the University officially kicked off its $1.3 billion, three-year fund-raising campaign, it has already reached the halfway point, helped in no small part by an avalanche of donations.
The University raised $102 million at a rate of more than $11 million per week with its fund-raiser, Campaign Minnesota, between Oct. 21 and the end of the year, pushing the grand total to more than $700 million.
“The $102 million we raised in the last two months of 1999 is especially outstanding when you consider that during the entire 1999 fiscal year the University raised $135 million,” said Gerald Fischer, president of the University of Minnesota Foundation, the school’s fund-raising body.
University officials plan to reach the full amount by mid-2003.
Major gifts since the October kickoff include $15 million from the McKnight Foundation for faculty priorities and $16 million from the family of the late C. Walton Lillehei to establish the Lillehei Heart Institute in the Medical School.
Additionally, 15 gifts of $1 million or more were given before the New Year.
The gifts support University programs at the Carlson School of Management, men’s athletics, veterinary medicine and the new studio arts building on the West Bank.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support by the University’s alumni and friends,” Fischer said. “They are responding with great enthusiasm to the priorities identified for this campaign.”
Those priorities include $540 million for faculty, students and strategic investments, and $760 million for ongoing academic programs and research.
The majority of the $730 million raised thus far was given during the “silent phase” of the fund-raising campaign, which began in 1996.
Campaign Minnesota is the second major fund-raising drive in the University’s history. The first lasted from 1985 to 1988, raising $365 million and creating 127 new endowed faculty positions.