$2 billion dollars—on October 17, 2014, the University of Oregon announced this ambitious amount as the goal for its latest fundraising campaign. It’s an unprecedented amount and a formidable challenge—for a good reason.
Quite simply put—it’s an investment in our collective future in Oregon, the country, and the world.
We are at a crossroads economically, socially, and environmentally. Education is the way forward, but education is changing. The outlook for U.S. higher education is challenging. Critical factors include
- Limited prospects for tuition growth
- Diminishing opportunities to develop nontuition revenue sources due to competition and market saturation
- A rising student loan burden
- Increased attention to regulatory and accreditation issues
- A growing focus on the long-term sustainability of the higher education business model.
This means is that income from tuition and fees is unlikely to grow much in the next 10 years while state support is likely to shrink further (we currently only receive 5 percent of our funding from the state). As a result, we will need to make significant investments in faculty and other resources in order to catch up with enrollment increases and improve our competitive position.
Private support will be the deciding factor in our and our students' futures.
A $100 Million Investment
At the Lundquist College of Business, our fundraising goal as part of the UO campaign is $100 million in private support. The most critical and first priority for this funding will be growing our faculty. In addition, we will seek to enhance student support, primarily through scholarships, as well as grow our menu of global travel and experiential learning opportunities. We will also continue to aggressively build our Portland presence and invest in advanced technology.
The breakdown of our $100 million campaign goal is as follows:
- $22.5 Million for faculty support
- $34.5 Million for student scholarships and program support
- $41 Million for experiential learning and centers
- $2 Million for technology.
The principal challenge in each category is identifying and securing sources of recurring income in the form of annual gifts and endowment from donors. Recurring income will be critical because funding faculty development and growth to keep up with demand alone will require an increase in our budget of $5 million or more per year. If funded exclusively through endowment, that amount equates to approximately a $100 million increase in college endowment funds. Considering that our annual budget today is slightly more than $27 million and our current endowment stands at approximately $52 million, the need for private investment is clear. It is our only path forward.
Tuition and fee income, currently our largest source of recurring income (79 percent), alone simply cannot fund faculty growth: (1) There is not much room for tuition increases; (2) enrollment is unlikely to increase much and, at the graduate level, the marginal cost is higher; and (3) tuition raised with new programs, including Sport Product Management and executive education, will need to be reinvested—at least in the initial years. Other sources of recurring income are small and include state funding—which continues to decline—and contract research and foundation support—which, although significant sources of funding for engineering, medicine, and the sciences, are less of a factor in the budgets of professional schools like us.
Annual gifts and endowment income, which currently provide for 17 percent of our budget, must provide a greater percentage of our operating income in years ahead.
A Great Start
The good news is that we are well on our way. For the new UO campaign, which is expected last until at least 2018, we have already raised $30 million toward our goal during the silent phase. And with the public launch of the campaign last month, the momentum of giving is accelerating. Some recent gifts include
- A $1 million anonymous matching gift to support accounting faculty in recognition of Helen Gernon.
- A $300,000 gift from Greg and Michelle Quesnel for MBA scholarships
- A $250,000 gift from Steve Reynolds to support the Center for Sustainable Business Practices.
We are truly grateful for these and other recent gifts, as well as others in the pipeline. They are a testament to the historic nature of this new campaign and a recognition that now is the time to leverage the Oregon heritage and realizing our ambitions.
We invite you to join them by contributing to this unprecedented fundraising effort.
As devoted Ducks and friends of the college, the time is now to invest in the future and soar to new heights. Only with your help will our faculty achieve intellectual leadership positions and develop and disseminate theoretical and practical knowledge relevant to the future of business. Only you can ensure our graduates successfully compete in the market place for talent and excel in careers as visionary leaders who drive innovation, think critically, challenge the status quo, and inspire trust. You are the difference maker that will enable businesses, public-sector organizations, and nonprofit communities to avail themselves of outstanding talent and partnership opportunities that bring significant value to our world.
Cornelis A. “Kees” de Kluyver
Rippey Distinguished Professor