‘Campaign for Texas’ raises total of $3.1 billion

Alex Wilts

The University announced Tuesday that it raised $856 million in 2013-2014 for "The Campaign for Texas," successfully completing and passing its goal to raise $3 billion in eight years.

The campaign, which began in 2006 and officially ended at midnight Sunday, raised a total of $3.1 billion, creating funding for state-of-the-art classrooms, the establishment of 846 new student scholarships and the construction of new buildings, such as the Belo Center for New Media and the Liberal Arts Building.

“Our alumni and supporters have given the greatest gift a university could ever seek: They have helped ensure that future generations of UT students will be able to learn, grow and prepare for the future at a university that remains one of the nation’s premier public research institutions,” President William Powers Jr. said in a statement. “We are grateful for every gift we received during the Campaign for Texas, many of which will help our faculty change the world through their research and scholarship.”

Kenny Jastrow, campaign chairman and a UT alumnus, said the biggest challenge for the University in completing its goal was getting donations after the campaign was officially announced, around the beginning of the 2008-2009 recession.

“I think it is remarkable that the campaign goal of $3 billion dollars was achieved, especially during very tough economic times,” Jastrow said. “President Powers, administrators, deans, faculty and everyone associated with the University did a magnificent job with carrying this campaign through.”

The campaign officially passed the $3 billion in mid-August with a $50 million donation from the Livestrong Foundation to the Dell Medical School. According to campaign data, of the 271,720 total donors, more than 120,000 were non-alumni and not directly associated with the University.

Jastrow said the campaign focused largely on utilizing social media and expanding the University’s support system.  

“The [University’s] increase in connectivity with so many different people has been a great thing that has come out of this campaign,” Jastrow said.

The University also reported that 89 percent of contributions went toward supporting academic efforts. Erin Dolan, executive director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science, said the campaign helped support the Freshman Research Initiative, a program that offers incoming students the opportunity to get involved in science research.

“Thanks to the Campaign for Texas, what started in 2005 with 45 first-year students has grown into a nationally recognized program with close to 800+ undergraduates actively researching and discovering what science is all about,” Dolan said in an email.

Recent graduate Delilah Dominguez said if money from the campaign had not helped provide her a scholarship from the St. David’s Foundation, she would have been unable to attend graduate school at the School of Social Work. 

“Every little bit that UT can give students entering into public service fields will help, because they’re not often properly compensated by their salary after college,” Dominguez said. “I think [the campaign] made college for me a more affordable reality.”