UM striving for billion dollar fundraising goal

Last fall, UM President Donna Shalala launched “Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami.” This one billion-dollar comprehensive fundraising campaign is the most ambitious and wide reaching in the University’s history.

“It’s an opportunity for those who care for the University of Miami to step up and help us accelerate progress, empower learning and discovery, and intensify our impact on people in our city, across the country, and around the world,” Shalala said.

The goal of the campaign, to raise $1 billion by 2007, makes Momentum the largest campaign announced by any university in the state of Florida. UM is one of only 25 universities in the nation seeking that amount.

To date, the campaign has raised over $600 million. The remainder of the $1 billion will be raised through various channels to attain the goal by 2007.

The overall goals of the campaign are to recruit the most promising students and provide scholarship opportunities; to create endowed teaching chairs; to attract the most gifted professors, scholars and technicians from around the globe; to endow new interdisciplinary centers and institutes; and to enhance research initiatives across the University’s campuses.

“This is a campaign about people, a campaign to enhance the University’s investment in our students, faculty, and staff,” Shalala said.

At the launch event, UM celebrated its benefactors by inducting them into honor societies and announced the creation of two new honor societies.

Drs. Phillip and Patricia Frost were recognized for their individual gift of $33 million to the School of Music, which was renamed The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music in their honor.

“I can honestly say the University is what attracted me to Miami. I came here in 1965, when I was recruited to join the faculty of the medical school,” said Dr. Phillip Frost, chairman of the UM Board of Trustees and chair of The Campaign for UM. “It was an important turning point in my life, providing me with tremendous opportunities — I feel as though I owe the University something in return.”

Other donors shared Frost’s passion for the university and its contribution to their lives.

UM alum Sheikh Tarek Al-Fassi and his family were inducted into the George E. Merrick Society for those who have contributed $1 million or more.

“I have to give something to the university for the great job UM did for me,” Al-Fassi said. “For someone like me, who comes from outside the United States, UM has a great potential to be an international school. You see people from all over the world, but they feel that UM is their home.”

The campaign will help fund many improvements to UM.

Amongst the anticipated additions to campus, courtesy of the campaign, are new buildings, endowments, and scholarships on all campuses and in all schools.

Dr. Paul Sugrue, dean of the School of Business, told The First Impression that one of the additions would be a virtual library for undergraduate business students, to be completed in Fall 2005.

The last campaign ended in 1990 after surpassing its goal of $400 million. The money funded the construction of the Knight Physics building, established the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and provided $23 million in scholarships.

According to Shalala, Momentum has come at a time when most universities are afraid to try to raise funds because of the economy.

“I am very impatient – I did not want to wait,” Shalala said.

Beginning with the creation of UM in 1926, contributions have helped the University expand to the level it is at now.

“Our University’s growing reputation for excellence has been carved from the astonishing contributions of our faculty and staff, from the impressive achievement of our students, from the inspired leadership of past administrators,” Shalala said. “And from the remarkable generosity of friends and alumni all over the world who, in giving so generously, have given us a margin of excellence.” I