A new capital campaign is set to begin in approximately 18 months to two years, according to President Thomas Jackson. The campaign will focus on the River Campus and funds will come from various sources, with the campaign expected to last five years.
These five years will consist of several phases of collecting including a phase where funds will be drawn from private individuals.
It is expected that nearly half of the money will be raised during the private phase, prior to the time of the public announcement, nearly one and a half to two years into the campaign. During this phase, donations could range from thousands to millions of dollars.
“After the private phase, the campaign will enter a more widespread, aggressive approach,” Jackson said. This next phase would include thousands of individuals, including alumni, and would culminate in a public announcement of the campaign.
The public announcement comes after the majority of the funds have been raised. This is typical of most campaigns, Jackson said.
“The campaign is something we are not even talking about publicly right now,” Dean for College Advancement Robert Bartlett said. The Office for College Advancement will be at the forefront of the campaign.
“It is a collaborative effort between this office [College Advancement] and the President’s office,” Bartlett said. Although he believes the “visionary” aspect of this campaign will come from the President’s office, he said he will be in control of the “day to day” running.
Although UR officials are not yet actively planning the specifics of the upcoming campaign, Bartlett believes that some initial steps have been taken. “Meliora Weekend was pre-campaign related,” he said.
Through events such as Meliora Weekend, Bartlett’s office works to put a face on UR. The activity centers on making UR “more visible in the eyes of the alumni,” according to Bartlett.
This new campaign follows the campaign for the ’90s, which ended in 1994. “Since that time we have had various other campaigns, such as the one for the medical center,” Jackson said. This campaign will differ in that it focuses solely on the college.
According to Jackson, the funds will go “to enhance the College, provide resources for students and faculty, financial aid, endowment scholarships and possibly a new BME/Optics Building.”
The campaign announcement comes at a time when many find fault with Jackson’s desires to raise more money for the campus when tuition has already been raised and visible improvements are numbered.
“Tuition is high. What are they doing with all that money?” freshman Nidhi Geevarghese asked.
Not all students agree. “I think it is a good idea if they use it for a good purpose,” freshman Mayur Patel said.
“UR is a black hole for money,” junior Joel Thompson said. “I think UR calls on their alumni a lot. I don’t see one more project as controversial.”
The concern for where tuition and other funding is used has been raised by many students.
“It costs a lot to be the best in education,” Jackson said. He argues that the costs for programs, great facilities and faculty are very expensive. “We are incredibly good as a small resource base,” he said.
“Pick five institutions. You would find that they have larger funds for resources,” he continued.
Jackson believes it is a question of obtaining and keeping great resources as well as competing for faculty. He believes that UR, in order to do justice for future students and faculty, must seek funds now.
The question of a capital campaign is also a question of the history of UR. In the past, particularly in the ’70s and ’80s, the endowment fund was damaged. “There were disastrous performance periods,” Jackson said. Although Jackson says that the drop in numbers for the endowment fund does not indicate misappropriation of funds or any misconduct, it does reflect investments which provided less than desirable results.
The situation today is paying for the past. The endowment fund is smaller than it should be and Jackson hopes that the capital campaign may alleviate some of this problem. Bartlett agrees. “In general, our greatest focus is on endowment,” he said.
Jackson argues that operating UR is a large expense. Roughly, it costs 200 million per year to operate, that figure includes student services, the resources such as the library, Internet connections and various campus activities. The total cost is funded by four major sources ? sponsors, research, endowment and gifts. The students’ tuition composes less than half of this figure.
The cost of education is not cheap. “Often students ask why is the tuition so high, but when looking at the figures one begins to ask why the figure is so low,” Jackson said.
Jackson acknowledges that several factors contribute to this high figure.
The teacher student ratio of 11to 1, the quality of faculty and the resources all come with hefty price tags. Jackson describes UR as “people intensive,” citing that this benefit of the small community comes with a realistic monetary value.
Bartlett believes that UR has some general tasks prior to beginning the campaign. “The most immediate objective is to solidify our case,” he said.
The questions are simple, but the answers difficult for the Office for College Advancement. “What is the vision for the College?” he asked. “How do the needs and vision match up?”