‘Momentum’ still going strong

On Jan. 27 the University of Miami’s Momentum campaign surpassed its stated goal of raising $1 billion in seven years.

“We didn’t know that it would be surpassed early,” Sergio Gonzalez, vice president for advancement and head of the campaign, said. The public phase of the campaign began in October 2003.

The official mission statement of Momentum is to “accelerate progress; empower learning and discovery; and intensify the University’s impact on people in the city, across the country and around the world.”

“The campaign came about as a result of the president’s [Donna E. Shalala] and the [Board of] Trustees’ wanting to raise more resources and funds,” Gonzalez said. “The University overall will benefit and become a better institute.”

Money raised is intended for each graduate and undergraduate school, as well as other areas, such as the Richter Library and Lowe Art Museum.

“It’s been a wonderful commitment from individuals and it’s going to enhance the University significantly,” Gonzalez said.

According to Gonzalez, not only does the University stand to gain, but all of its students will benefit considerably as well.

“Their diplomas will be worth more because the University is a better academic and research institute and its prestige will have gone up,” he said.

In addition, almost $82 million has been raised to go toward student support, an area that includes scholarships.

Some of the methods used to raise money include one-on-one meetings, phone calls and direct mail, according to Gonzalez.

“We’ve received gifts as small as $5 or $10, which are all very important,” he said.

The largest contribution came in the form of a $100 million gift to the School of Medicine from the family of Leonard M. Miller, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees. The school was renamed in honor of Miller in December 2004.

More than $630 million has been raised so far for the Miller School of Medicine. The funds will go toward endowments for physicians, research, upgrading current facilities and building two new ones.

Many of the monetary goals set for other schools are close to completion as well, according to Gonzalez.

Since the campaign reached its goal 18 months ahead of schedule, Gonzalez said that the Board of Trustees decided to raise an additional $250 million before the end of 2007.

“It will be [used]to continue funding research, attract faculty and fund additional scholarships,” Gonzalez said.

One way to recruit high-quality faculty members will be through 17 endowed chairs and 116 endowed scholarships. Higher salaries will also be provided, Gonzalez said.

The participation rate among alumni in this campaign is 30 percent. According to Gonzalez, this is in contrast to the roughly 10 percent in the last major campaign a decade ago.

Students also see the Momentum campaign as a good effort by the University, but have their own ideas to where money should go.

“I know they give a lot of scholarship money already, but I think they could give a little more because it [tuition]is so expensive,” Lindsay Crouch, freshman, said.

“I think they should distribute it amongst the main campus,” Alicia Reese, sophomore, said regarding the additional money being raised.

“I think they should put more money into the dorms and into the schools where it’s going to benefit the students,” Jessica Flowers, freshman, said.

Greg Linch can be contacted at

February 7, 2006


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.