Capital Gift Campaign

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Jan. 5, 1996

UW-RF Launches Capital Gift Campaign With Major Donation

With a new pledge of $25,000 from its current and former chancellors, UW-River Falls has launched a capital gifts campaign.

Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau, former Chancellor George R. Field and their wives made the pledge during a ceremony held in the Alumni Room of historic South Hall to launch the campaign.

The Thibodeaus and Fields made their pledges because of their personal commitment to providing opportunities for young people to flourish.

"The bottom line is that an educated citizenry is the backbone of a democracy," Thibodeau explained. "Everything that we do as a University is intended to make our students effective and more productive citizens.

"There are many things that will make a difference in how well we accomplish important objectives that are based on external support. Americans have to make a personal commitment to the education of our nation. And those in higher education must lead by example."

Chancellor and Mrs. Emogene Thibodeau last summer were named Distinguished University Benefactors for previous gifts totaling more than $25,000.

UW-RF Foundation Executive Director Chuck Brictson is optimistic that the Capital Gift Campaign will be well-received by members of the University community as well as alumni, businesses and other friends of the University. The campaign will continue over the next several years to coincide with UW-RF's massive "Reach for the Future" program that is reorienting the institution's academic disciplines and administrative support services in for the year 2000.

The purpose of the capital gifts campaign is to raise major gifts from individuals and corporations to support three separate targeted areas at UW-River Falls: technology, faculty development, and scholarships.

Thibodeau and Brictson noted that UW-River Falls has been feeling ever-increasing financial pressures as the institution, through the erosion of state and federal support, has effectively found its social compact with the people of Wisconsin shifted from state-supported to state-assisted public higher education. Just 40 percent of the institution's budget now comes from state tax dollars, with the balance from tuition, gifts and grants.

As public higher education in Wisconsin has witnessed the state tax dollar contribution fall from 14 percent to eight percent of state spending over the past decade, UW-RF has experienced continuing reductions in tax dollar support, including a 3.8 percent decrease this year as a result of property tax relief.

The competition for top students is becoming increasingly keen among colleges and universities. The campaign will undergird an already exceptional academic program array, and enhance the excellent educational opportunities the University can offer to students.

The scholarship initiative is seeking donors to support UW-RF's Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship. This joint UW-State of Wisconsin program permits the University to provide full scholarships to Wisconsin's best and brightest young people. Presently, 62 Scholars attend the University under this program. The capital gifts campaign is seeking a $1,000 donation for each scholarship. Those donations will allow the University to maximize existing scholarship funds to recruit additional high potential students.

Discretionary funding is being sought for faculty development through the creation of named professorships. The minimum contribution needed to endow a professorship is $50,000. Donors will be provided the opportunity to name the professorships and to select the academic discipline that will be the beneficiary. Money earned from the endowment will provide discretionary funding for a faculty member for areas most effected by state budget cuts: professional development, travel support for attendance and presentations at academic conferences, supplies and equipment, student assistance support, and research.

Funds will be raised for the purchase of equipment to allow students to be exposed to the latest technology in order to prepare them for the future. A primary focus, Brictson said, will be to seek out businesses and corporations that will donate equipment as they upgrade their technology systems.

"The 'Reach for the Future Campaign' is an exciting initiative. It will provide UW-River Falls with the needed resources and technology to meet the demands of the 21st century, and allow it to continue its pursuit of excellence," Thibodeau said.

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