Campaign sets standards for university fund raising
By Terry McGuire
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 04 - September 17, 1998
Voltaire considered Shakespeare's Hamlet the work of "a drunken savage." An overwhelming majority of political pundits gave Harry Truman little or no chance in the 1948 presidential race. Michael Jordan's junior-high-school basketball coach cut him from the squad. And consultants saw the Campaign for Virginia Tech having "a five-year target no lower than $163 million and as high as $201.8...with an additional level of support permitting a working goal of $225 million...."
Voltaire's opinion is shared by scant few, while results have shown how wide of the mark were those who underestimated Truman, Jordan, and the supporters of Virginia Tech. If success is an antidote for skepticism, the Campaign for Virginia Tech has cured any number of doubters as to the willingness of alumni, friends, parents, faculty and staff members, and students to help ensure the university's future financial health.
The final campaign total is still being tallied, but several results are already clear: the six-year effort will exceed its $250-million goal by a considerable amount. The campaign will also surpass each of its four major objectives: permanent endowment ($125-million goal), current operations ($60-million goal), facilities and equipment ($35-million goal), and research ($30-million goal). And the campaign's performance will have helped boost the level of private-gift income from an average of $30.8 million during the three-year period prior to its beginning, to an average of $42 million in its last three years, culminating in a record $48.9 million in fiscal year 1997-98.
Equally as impressive is the number of individuals responsible for producing these exceptional figures. More than 71,600 donors contributed to the campaign. Nearly 1,000 donors made gifts of $25,000 or more; 59 contributed $1 million or more; and alumni provided 48 percent of the gift total.
The campaign was served by better than 400 volunteers, many of whom were young alumni. Campaign Co-Chairs Clifton Garvin and Marshall Hahn headed up the efforts of the 34-member steering committee, which oversaw the direction of the campaign from its early stages to its conclusion. Volunteers manned the major campaign subcommittees, the college and constituency campaign committees, and the committees for the 37 nation-wide regional campaigns.
"The sheer size of this undertaking required volunteer leadership at every level," Garvin said. "Virginia Tech is blessed with alumni, friends, and others who recognized immediately how important it was to become involved. The generous contributions of their time and talents were indispensable to our success."
At the invitation of the university, many of these volunteer leaders and hundreds of other donors will be returning to campus to celebrate a success that was six years in the making. The celebration event for the Campaign for Virginia Tech will take place October 9 on the Drillfield.
Over the next several weeks, Spectrum will provide additional details on the campaign and its impact on the university.