President Donna E. Shalala stressed the importance of alumni donating to their alma mater in her feature on the Humans of UM Facebook page.
The feature was posted on March 17.
“… the average student takes out about $25,000,” she said of student loans.
The page’s administrator, Collin Li, responded with a question.
“What do you suggest we do about that?” Li asked.
“Well when they get to be successful, they should give back so other students get to go to school,” Shalala said, according to the Humans of UM page.
Since Momentum 2 began, more than 38,000 alumni have heeded Shalala’s advice by contributing to the University of Miami’s second billion-dollar fundraising campaign.
With their help, the university has already reached about 80 percent of its goal, according to Sergio Gonzalez, the senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs.
The campaign aims to raise $1.6 billion by 2016. The university has amassed $1.27 billion as of early March, according to Gonzalez.
When the Momentum 2 campaign was publicly announced in February 2012, $906 million had already been raised. This means that about $370 million has been raised since then.
Alumni have donated a total of $219 million to Momentum 2, and the 38,657 alumni that have contributed so far exceeds the total number of alumni that contributed during the first Momentum campaign.
Gonzalez said this has had a lot to do with the university’s effort to connect its alumni to UM and to bring back those who have left Miami.
“It’s very important to us that our alumni give back,” he said. “It’s the beginning of hopefully a lifetime of giving.”
College rankings by the U.S. News and World Report take into account the total number of alumni who donate money to their alma mater. UM has focused on boosting this number in a variety of ways.
Banners with the “faces of scholarship” highlight students who agreed to share their stories about how receiving a scholarship helped them attend UM. The goal is to demonstrate the power of philanthropy, Gonzalez said.
Additionally, at a recent scholarship luncheon held for the university’s donors and attended by students on scholarship, Shalala asked all of the students to stand up and raise their right hands to pledge that they would support scholarships in the future.
“We’re trying to create the kind of consciousness about giving back to the University of Miami to our young alums and our students now who become seniors,” Gonzalez said.
Aside from alumni donors, individual donors such as Swanee and Paul DiMare have contributed to the Momentum 2 campaign. The DiMares are local philanthropists and vice chairs of the campaign. Their giving totals $12.5 million. Paul DiMare is also a member of the Board of Trustees.
“They’re wonderful donors who believe in really impacting the lives of our students and particularly the University of Miami community,” Gonzalez said.
The DiMares made a $2 million gift to the Frost School of Music to build a 200-seat recital hall. In December, they also pledged $6 million to the Miller School of Medicine to fund scholarships for recipients who will be known as DiMare Medical Scholars.
“They wanted to make sure that talented and qualified students who want to come to our medical school could afford it,” Gonzalez said.
The remainder of their contributions have gone toward the Gallery of Champions at the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the Miller School’s UHealth Sports Medicine Division, and the School of Education and Human Development.
Additionally, the Student Activities Center, Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence and the new Toppel Career Center – all completed this academic year – are being used by students today because of funds from Momentum 2.