Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Capstone rakes in out-of-state cash

To keep up with the unprecedented growth in enrollment, the University has expanded its efforts to garner funding from private sources, said Charlie Adair, director of development for the Culverhouse College of Commerce.

Non-state funding for the University encompasses donations from corporations, alumni and private individuals, scholarships established by private sources of funding and tuition dollars.

Non-state funding has been a mainstay for the University since the early 20th century, when President John Abercrombie launched the Greater University Campaign in 1906 in hopes of developing the physical appearance of the campus.

“In 1906, he launched the Greater University building program that resulted in the first construction on campus in nearly two decades,” writes Suzanne Wolfe in her book “The University of Alabama: A Pictorial History.” “The ensuing fund-raising drive achieved remarkable success. These funds, plus additional legislative appropriations, made possible the first construction on campus since 1889.”

Non-state funding continues to be a viable economic resource for the Capstone.

Adair said fundraising efforts such as the Capital Campaign in 2009, which led to more than $84 million in gifts to the College of Commerce, have been critical factors in the growth of the University.

“What it does is it brings in immediate dollars,” he said. “Some of the gifts [though] are structured over five years.”

A pledge of $100,000, for instance, may be apportioned throughout the course of five years, which becomes $20,000 donated per year, instead of bestowed to the University immediately, he said.

“The figure of $84 million is a little misleading,” he said. “It’s not as if in June 2009 when the campaign ended we were given a check of $84 million to deposit into an account.”

Pam Parker, vice president of advancement, said the University has experienced a rise in cash donations but a drop in pledges due to the recession.

Adair said the successful Capital Campaign has nonetheless strengthened the University’s fundraising efforts.

“It’s really raised the confidence level among the donors,” he said.

Adair said the growth in numbers and quality of the student body has attracted donations from private sources.

“They see [students] as the future of this state,” he said. “They see [students] as their talent pool … and they want to support the students as a long-term viability.”

He said corporate powerhouses have taken an interest in the talent of the student body.

“[Major] corporate recruiters are now coming to campus,” he said. “We’re getting [companies such as] Google, BMW, IBM and Kellogg [to visit campus]. They see us as a diverse University.”

Adair said the donors, such as corporations, who seek to advertise their names with the establishment of sponsored scholarships, are few and far between.

He said most donors see a more benign purpose behind giving to the University.

“Think about the individual Joe Smith from Gadsden, Alabama,” he said. “He does it because it’s in his heart.”

Adair said the fundraising will continue to rake in money for the University to improve the quality of the education at the Capstone.

“We’re not going to stop,” Adair said. “Not everyone is ready to give during the campaign. I’m still working with folks I was working with two years ago. You never stop.”

Adair said the development of relationships with private sources of funding is critical.

“This is a relationship-driven business,” he said. “We look at it as a long-term effort.”

He said the University has also hired quality faculty to instruct students’ growing academic quality.

Parker said University President Robert Witt has facilitated non-state funding for the University by bringing his vision for the University into fruition.

“Witt is a man with a vision,” she said. “You can see that vision being implemented … and it creates an excitement that is rarely seen. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more vibrant excitement before.”

The creation of a new building for every 90 days on average, for instance, is indicative of the energy behind Witt’s vision, Parker said.

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