STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The UConn Foundation reported Wednesday that fundraising at the state’s flagship university is up, but the school’s endowment continues to lag behind similar public universities.
Joshua Newton, the foundation president, told the school’s Board of Trustees that fundraising from private donations totaled $78.3 million in the last fiscal year, the second-largest total in school history. That surpassed the $77.6 million raised in 2015, but was below the record $81 million raised in 2014, when the school received an $11 million gift from a single donor.
The 2016 pledges included $16.1 million for scholarship and student support, $25.4 million for research, $29.8 million for program support, $5.3 million for faculty support, and $1.7 million for capital improvements.
Newton said $21 million from this year’s donations was earmarked for the endowment, which the foundation reported is now at $375 million. That is down from the $383 million reported a year ago, but up from $288 million five years ago.
The foundation says the endowment ranks 75th among the nation’s public universities, last among the nation’s top 20 public universities, and is 64 percent of the size of the median endowment for the nation’s top 119 public universities.
The University of Massachusetts reported an endowment of more than $770 million in 2015. Rutgers endowment was over $1 billion, according to a list compiled by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
In 2011, UConn president Susan Herbst announced a goal of $1 billion for UConn’s endowment; something she has said will attract top professors, allow for more scholarships and help keep the school financially stable through the ups and downs in the state economy.
“It will take time and extraordinary effort, but UConn can and we must raise the kind of endowment than an institution of our size, our excellence, our mission needs in order to succeed,” she told the board Wednesday.
The foundation has set an overall goal of raising $85 million for the 2017 fiscal year and Newtown said it hopes to get to $100 million annually within the next few years. Raising the endowment to $1 billion will take much longer, he said.
“Assuming market conditions are strong, which they haven’t been, and assuming you continue at the pace of $20 million or greater, it’s going to take another six or seven years just to get to $500 million,” he said. “What you hope, is that you start to have some transformational gifts.”
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