Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

University of Denver marks dual $400 million milestones

The University of Denver recently surpassed $400 million in its ASCEND fundraising campaign, now the most successful fundraising campaign in the University’s history. Around the same time, the market value of the University’s endowment also exceeded $400 million, marking the first fiscal year in DU’s history in which the endowment has exceeded the size of the University’s operating budget.

“This has been such a remarkable academic year, starting with the presidential debate and continuing with the opening of the Anderson Academic Commons, which was supported by thousands of alumni and friends of the University,” says Scott Lumpkin (BS ’79, MBA ’88), vice chancellor in the Office of University Advancement. “Then came the announcement of the new STEM initiative, and the year culminated with passing the $400 million mark in both the campaign and the endowment.”

Lumpkin says this is the third strongest fundraising year in the ASCEND campaign and in DU’s history, as well as the fourth consecutive year in which the University’s fundraising totals have exceeded those of the previous year. “Most fundraising campaigns see a winding down in their final years,” Lumpkin says, “but as we prepare to start the last year of the ASCEND campaign, the University is in an amazingly strong position.”

The $400 million milestones in fundraising and the endowment are a result of purposeful investment by donors and by the University itself. Resources from new gifts and from the endowment strengthen the educational experience by supporting University priorities such as scholarships and interdisciplinary learning.

Since the beginning of the campaign, more than $120 million has been committed to scholarships, and 480 new scholarships have been established. Many of these scholarships open the door to a DU education to students who otherwise might not be able to attend.

“Without my scholarship, I would not have the ability to study at an institute of higher education, let alone a prestigious one such as the University of Denver,” says junior public policy and English double major Stephen Budlong. “I am forever indebted to the generosity of both my scholarship donor and the University of Denver for giving me the privilege and honor to continue my schooling at DU.”

In addition to increasing access to a DU education, gifts to the University also enrich the quality of the educational experience. The Anderson Academic Commons, which opened in March with the support of more than 5,000 donors, contains technological innovations that complement the scholastic and socially integrated lives of DU students. The 154,223-square-foot facility quickly has become a hub of daily activity for students and the University community.

The University’s new STEM initiative, which combines interdisciplinary programming and a new facility, is made possible through gifts totaling more than $40 million from Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie, Betty Knoebel, widow of Denver food-service pioneer Ferdinand “Fritz” Knoebel, and the late Bill Petersen (BSEE ’69), an alumnus of the DU School of Engineering. The initiative will enhance the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at DU. The STEM initiative coincides with a dramatic increase in the number of student applications in those fields, and it will provide the capacity to meet that need. The University is expected to begin construction this fall on the building that will house the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.

More than 41,000 donors have given to the University throughout the course of the ASCEND campaign, which began in July 2006. More than 50 percent of those donors are alumni. During the past two years, targeted programs have increased giving rates among alumni, faculty and staff, students and parents.

“As more of our alumni and friends have become involved over the past few years, the University has grown stronger,” Lumpkin says. “And that is the secret to the University achieving its potential in the next 150 years — the participation of our alumni and our community in the life of DU.”



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