The Center for Science and Innovation is a $54 million campaign which will require a much needed overhaul of Harney Science Center. Phelan Residence Hall is also next in line with a new plumbing systym overdue.
According to Dave Macmillan, vice president of the UA office, if it weren’t for generous donors, the university would be hard pressed to make such renovations.
Macmillan fully understands the challenges of funding such projects and the overwhelming expenses of building new facilities. “It takes a combination of foundations. The Board of Trustees, USF alumni, faculty, and corporations are all very giving in their donations to the university.”
Macmillan said the university should be doing a better job in its practice of deferred maintenance and restoring buildings. University officials are hoping to change this trend.
However, donations from contributors are not always allocated for restoration projects. Macmillan said the university’s “two top priorities for raising funds in the last three years have been to increase gifts to scholarships, and the new Science Center. Scholarships are always our top priority in every campaign”
UA officials recently teamed with Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. in order to complete their latest renovation campaign. They each raise money for such large scale projects. They have recently accomplished other comprehensive campaigns, including renovations to the Koret Law Center and Kalmanovitz Hall.
While the university continues to explore various ideas for campus renewal projects, Macmillan said, “The Board of Trustees ultimately determines what major projects are undertaken and what to raise money for.”
Upon receiving Board approval, the university then launches a capital campaign for the funding as the UA office connects with its donors throughout the San Francisco community and beyond in order to raise the appropriate amount of funds for the targeted goal.
In the case of the most recent five-year campaign, the university was given a $150 million endowed goal, which was bumped up to $175 million midway through the drive. The university ultimately ended up exceeding its goal by raising $178 million for the comprehensive capital campaign.
As a symbol of appreciation and recognition of a donor’s generosity, the university generally names the building after its most outstanding contributor. Such was the case in the upgrade of Kalmanovitz Hall, in which the Kalmanovitz Foundation provided the majority of the donation.
Macmillan clarified that such perks are not necessarily the motivation for most USF contributors. He expressed, “Our donors are primarily motivated by the mission of the university and have a strong sense of confidence in the leadership of Father Privett and his staff.”
USF students seem to be quite aware of the funding process for such university projects. When recently asked about the source of renovation funding, most students were keen to the idea that the money was coming from donors and not paid by student tuition.
Although student tuition does pay for a significant amount of university benefits, sophomore Patrick DeYoung said, “Student tuition money is geared to paying for employee salaries at the university.”
Despite having one of the lower endowments among schools in the conference, UA and Privett have pledged their commitment to working with donors willing to contribute to scholarship money and facility renovations on campus.
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