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UVa capital campaign reaches goal of $5B more than a year ahead of schedule

Fundraising for a University of Virginia capital campaign has reached its goal of $5 billion well over a year ahead of schedule. And the school says it has no intention of slowing down fundraising efforts for the “Honor the Future” campaign, which is not set to end until June 30, 2025.

More than 230,000 donors have already contributed to the fund; 750 of those gifts were donations of $1 million or more.

The money will be used to carry out several parts of the school’s ambitious plan to become “the best public university in 2030, and one of the very best in the world, whether public or private.”

“The University has a deep culture of private philanthropy going back to our founding,” Mark Luellen, UVa vice president for advancement, told The Daily Progress. “Since the early 1990’s, there have been three comprehensive University-wide capital campaigns. Each of these campaigns have been tremendously successful in elevating our University, but the Honor the Future campaign is the largest campaign in the history of the University thanks to the investment of many stakeholders and the great work of the senior administration, deans, faculty, and staff.”

With $5 billion at its disposal, the university has identified an extensive list of initiatives it hopes to accomplish within each of its 16 individual schools, including the UVa Health System and the College at Wise.

“As impressive as it is, $5 billion is much more than simply a number,” UVa President Jim Ryan said in a statement. “It represents critical investments in students, faculty and research that align with the 2030 Strategic Plan, which will have an impact for generations.”

The campaign will be used to support several of the school’s ongoing projects, such as construction of the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology, expansion of the McIntire School of Commerce as well as renovations to UVa athletics facilities.

Whether new facilities will bear the name of contributors, such as Paul and Diane Manning, is up to the discretion of the donor, according to Luellen. Some individuals provide unrestricted financial support to the school, while others have specific requests attached to their checks.

“For those that earmark their giving toward an area of personal passion and preference, we strive to keep them current on the impact of their philanthropy and look for opportunities to engage them in the areas their giving has targeted,” said Luellen.

Other university projects the campaign will support include a new Student Health and Wellness Center as well as multiple developments along the Emmet Street-Ivy Road corridor near the school, including the Tessa and Richard Ader Performing Arts Center, the Karsh Institute of Democracy and the upcoming School of Data Science.

The latter school will be established from the campaign’s largest single commitment so far: a $120 million grant from Charlottesville-based Quantitative Foundation. The grant will be matched with funds from UVa’s Bicentennial Professors and Students Fund for the new program.

Jaffray Woodriff is co-founder and CEO of Quantitative Investment Management, the private investment firm associated with the foundation. He graduated from UVa’s McIntire School of Commerce in 1991. The foundation has previously shown its support in fostering the school’s data-focused scholarship with a $10 million grant for the Data Science Institute, which will now be directed to the new school.

“While this is an extremely generous grant, we are thankful for the 230,000+ individual alumni, parents and friends that have made this campaign possible, the impact will be felt for generations,” said Luellen.

The Honor the Future campaign was launched in October 2019 coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the school’s founding.

In honor of the bicentennial, $1.1 billion in bicentennial scholarships has been allocated between the Bicentennial Scholars Fund and Bicentennial Professors Fund. This figure, a combination of private philanthropy and matching funds, has created more than 600 new endowed scholarships for undergraduates with financial needs in addition to 133 endowed professorships for distinguished faculty.

“The Bicentennial Scholarship and Professorship Fund initiatives were part of the overall campaign and have been inspiring to many of our donors,” said Luellen. “They were established to develop a culture of co-investment in our highest priority — our people.”


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