U.Va. Launches Bold $3 Billion Fund-Raising Campaign to Set the Course for the University’s Future

September 26, 2006
Sept. 26, 2006 — The University of Virginia will officially launch its $3 billion fund-raising campaign -- Campaign for the University of Virginia: Knowledge Is Power -- at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, at a meeting of the University’s Board of Visitors in the Rotunda. 

That event will be part of a daylong celebration for the University community that begins with a special campaign-related announcement at 10 a.m. and concludes with fireworks on the Lawn at 9 p.m.

The campaign’s official launch comes on the heels of a two-year “quiet phase,” during which University President John T. Casteen III, Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs, and Gordon F. Rainey Jr., campaign chairman, laid the groundwork for the campaign, and initiated the first phase of fund-raising.

In addition, working with each school and center, University leaders completed a planning process that led to the creation of the campaign’s strategic goals, which focus on three primary areas: enhancing the student experience (which includes curriculum enhancements, need-based financial aid, fellowships for graduate studentsand new and expanded facilities), bolstering research ($947 million) and strengthening public service ($603 million). Each school has identified specific needs that will realize its own goals and also contribute to the University’s overarching vision. The campaign also will raise $70 million in unrestricted funds to permit flexibility for future institutional priorities.

Private fund-raising, Casteen said, has become necessary to the future growth and excellence of public higher education. The University’s last campaign, which ran from 1993 to 2000 and raised $1.43 billion, came at a time when the state had begun to make deep cuts in higher education. The portion of state funds in the University’s budget had fallen steadily, from a high of 27 percent in 1990 to 12 percent in 1995. It currently stands at approximately 8 percent.

“The last campaign was about building self-sufficiency and sustaining our programs in the face of sudden reductions in state funding,” Casteen said. “With this campaign, we will continue to address state funding shortfalls, but we will do much more than that. Ultimately, the campaign will allow us to fulfill our obligation to our founder by realizing Jefferson’s vision of creating the ‘bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere.’” 

Rainey, a member of the University’s Board and the former Rector, sees the current campaign -- one of the largest in public education -- as an opportunity to both elevate the University and maintain current programs equal to the world’s best.  “Through the campaign the University will demonstrate that a public institution, given the freedom and the resources to shape its own destiny, can fulfill its public mission, achieve true distinction, and transform the course of learning and inquiry, all at the same time,” he said. “It can become the ideal of higher education in America.”

He said the last campaign was responsible for numerous important advances made at the University. Most visible is the transformation of the physical Grounds – including the completion of 20 new building projects and renovations of or additions to more than two dozen existing buildings.

Equally important has been the University’s commitment to diversity; the creation of ACCESSUVa, a financial aid initiative designed to keep U.Va. affordable; the addition of 154 endowed professorships, 122 fellowships and 616 scholarships; and the growth of the endowment, which has increased from $487 million in 1990 to almost $3.5 billion today.

“The success of the last campaign has given us the confidence to move forward with this one,” Rainey said. “Never has there been a greater need for what this institution represents: intellectual rigor, the free and open exchange of ideas, collegial collaboration in the pursuit of knowledge, dedication to the public good, and honor and integrity in all endeavors.”

Sweeney, who leads the University’s development office, believes that the University is at a turning point in its modern history and gives credit to the leadership of Casteen, Leonard W. Sandridge, the University’s executive vice president / chief operating officer, and the members of the Board of Visitors for their visionary planning initiatives that are closely tied to the campaign.

“They have implemented a bold strategic planning process that will position the University for greatness,” Sweeney said.  “I believe the University is poised to distinguish itself as a largely privately financed public university that remains deeply committed to its core values of educating the citizens of the Commonwealth and its obligation to public service.”


Campaign Kickoff Events / Friday, Sept. 29

• McIntire School of Commerce Symposium / 8 a.m. to noon
Old Cabell Hall Lobby and Auditorium
"Reflections on Leadership and Positive Societal Change," will highlight outstanding leaders from the University community who are actively working to produce positive changes in the world.
•  W. Michael Scheld, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
•  Julie Bargmann, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
•  Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education

• Board of Visitors Naming Ceremony / 10 a.m.
Dome Room, The Rotunda

• Board of Visitors/Official Campaign Kickoff / 2 p.m.
Dome Room, The Rotunda

• South Lawn Groundbreaking Ceremony / 3 p.m.
B-1 Parking Lot, Jefferson Park Avenue

• Jefferson Scholars Foundation/Alumni Association/Jefferson Trust Lecture / 4 p.m.
Old Cabell Hall
Lecture by Norman Graebner, noted diplomatic historian and the Randolph P. Compton Professor Emeritus of Foreign Affairs

• Fireworks on the Lawn / 9:30 p.m.
The Lawn