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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine


Fruits of Labor

The Fruits of Labor

UTSA Continues to Build Momentum in its First Capital Campaign

Before UTSA launched its first capital campaign, consultants cautioned that trying to raise $120 million in a down economy at a university where a majority of the alumni are under age 40 would be tough.

They were wrong.

In May, President Ricardo Romo announced the university had met its initial goal—more than two years ahead of schedule.

“I knew the hearts of our community were with UTSA,” Romo said. “We want exceptional opportunities right here and we are willing to invest in making that possible.”

The campaign is credited with the creation of 135 new scholarships, as well as 26 new faculty endowments. A $5 million gift from H-E-B to match commitments for faculty endowments was key in putting the campaign total over the top.

Now the university has a new goal. By August 2015, when the campaign ends, officials hope to raise an additional $55 million.

“I am confident that we will meet our new $175 million milestone because San Antonio has already been very generous to us,” said Romo. “The new goal is a commitment to taking the next tangible steps in our journey to Tier One.”

By the time the university announced its first capital campaign in April 2012, it had quietly raised $94.3 million.

“We already had such strong momentum going into the launch,” said Marjie French, vice president for external relations. “We knew we were going to meet our goal.”

First came a $2.5 million gift from Valero Energy Foundation for graduate student research support. That was matched by the Texas Research Incentive Program, resulting in one of the university’s largest corporate gifts.

“That essentially launched our campaign,” French said. “It gave us the boost we needed to get off to a strong start.”

A surprise gift from the estate of a retired schoolteacher, Mary E. McKinney, gave the biggest push, an estimated $27 million for student scholarships.

The money has provided 77 scholarships.

So when H-E-B announced its $5 million match this year, it helped push UTSA over the top and introduced an opportunity to keep the momentum going.

“Already, the impact that this capital campaign has made has been astounding,” French said. “We are changing people’s lives by providing an opportunity for students to participate in cutting edge research with state-of-the-art equipment. They are receiving educational opportunities led by some of the world’s top faculty. This is what a top-tier university experience is all about.”

The additional funds generated over the next two years will be used to continue attracting and retaining faculty; offer more undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships; establish and support more centers, institutes and programs; and enhance student life.

Athletic facility funding is also a key priority in anticipation of the fall opening of the Park West Athletics Complex and the football practice fields.

The goal extension will provide an opportunity for more donors to step up to support the university, said Jim Bodenstedt ’96, campaign chair. An important component to that is alumni giving.

“There is a role for everyone in this campaign,” Bodenstedt said. “Alumni giving growth is vital to ongoing success and the reputation of the university. Every gift makes a difference.”

When the campaign concludes in August 2015, the university will be a different place than it was in April 2012, when the campaign officially began, French said.

Signs of the metamorphosis are evident.

There is a new dean in the College of Business, Gerry Sanders, who moved to UTSA from Rice University, in part because of the new $1 million Bodenstedt Chair for the Dean of Business.

A $1 million gift from the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund helped create the Center for Innovation in Drug Discovery, a joint effort with the University of Texas Health Science Center that will spearhead the creation of new drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as many others.

And because of a $750,000 gift from the Greehey Family Foundation, 38 of the football team’s players—many of them first-generation college students—were awarded scholarships.

Soon there will be more faculty members who are leaders in their fields, more equipment and facilities supporting cutting-edge research and more students who will have the support to access the best the university has to offer.

“We are committed to giving our students exceptional opportunities to become exceptional leaders,” said Romo. “At our core is a deep desire to bring opportunities here, investing in our people and the future of our city. We are grateful to our donors—they are changing lives and building a solid foundation for future success.”

–Heather Locke Green


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