Feature Story

Health Center Today, September 29, 2009

UConn Announces $600 Million Capital Campaign; $155-Million Goal for Health Center

By John Sponauer

Photo of Monty MacNeil and Cato T. Laurencin

Deans Monty MacNeil and Cato T. Laurencin welcome the Health Center Community to the pre-campaign kickoff.

The University of Connecticut has announced the public launch of a bold new capital campaign to raise $600 million – including $155 million for the Health Center – and increase the resources available for students and faculty.

The effort, called Our University. Our Moment. The Campaign for UConn is the largest campaign in UConn’s history. Under the auspices of the UConn Foundation, the campaign will raise private funds for financial aid, faculty support, and programs across all of UConn’s campuses.

A campaign kickoff was held at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Sept. 26 prior to the UConn vs. University of Rhode Island football game. The day before the launch, hundreds of people from the UConn Health Center community attended a pre-campaign kickoff ice cream social in the courtyard, hosted by the UConn Foundation’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations at the Health Center.

UConn Dairy Bar ice cream was served by the Health Center’s new Employee Philanthropy Committee and Foundation staff. Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, spoke, as did Dr. Monty MacNeil, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. A simultaneous ice cream social was held in Storrs.

To date, $190 million has been raised in endowed and non-endowed gifts during the campaign’s silent phase, including approximately $50 million for Health Center-related funds. Included in this total is $17.3 million from alumnus Ray Neag ’56, ’01H and his wife, Carole, for numerous initiatives at the Storrs campus and the UConn Health Center, as well as 32 other gifts of $1 million or more.

Members of the Health Center community enjoying ice cream in the courtyard

UConn introduced its new capital campaign to the Health Center with an ice cream social in the center courtyard.

“We’re pleased with the early response by UConn’s alumni and friends,” says UConn Foundation President John K. Martin. “In light of the current recession, we’ve been especially impressed by their level of commitment. They are stepping up because they’re passionate about UConn and they believe in our vision for the future.”

The Health Center’s portion of the campaign will be aided with a campaign steering committee chaired by Mark Bertolini and Robert Samuels of the Health Center’s Board of Directors.

Despite the difficult economy, university officials believe that now is the time to rally alumni and others to support the state’s flagship institution of higher learning, which has provided many of Connecticut’s citizens with access to a top-flight education while promoting economic and workforce development.

In addition, Connecticut is mirroring a national trend that has seen state support as a percentage of operating income for public higher education steadily decrease during the past decade. In this climate, the university is taking on the responsibility to raise private funds in support of its ambitious institutional mission and vision.

“UConn is on the cusp of becoming a premier national research university,” says UConn President Michael J. Hogan. “We are involved in groundbreaking studies in stem cells, fuel cells, sustainability, and much more. As state support is projected to continue declining, private giving is more critical than ever. Right now our endowment is significantly below our peer institutions. In order to continue UConn’s upward trajectory, we must dramatically grow our foundation of support to be competitive with peer public universities.”

Long recognized as the best public university in New England, today UConn is gaining national and international prominence for excellence in education, research, and outreach. In addition, Hogan has set a goal to become one of the top 20 public research universities in the country. To achieve this, UConn’s new academic plan calls for investing in areas of strength that are critical to the future, including the environment; health and human behavior; and society, culture, and the arts.

“We have set forth an academic plan to invest in core areas of excellence and realize our potential as a leading national university. Our University. Our Moment. is an ambitious campaign that will help us achieve the goals we have established,” says Hogan. “The UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn building programs funded tremendous revitalization and growth on our campuses. We have the momentum now to achieve our greatest aspirations for UConn as a national and international leader in higher education.”

In addition to growing the university’s endowment to a target of $500 million, other campaign priorities include increasing the number of student scholarship and fellowship funds from 750 to 1,200; establishing 50 new endowed faculty positions; and enhancing academic, research, outreach, and diversity programs. The objectives are:

Undergraduate education $200 million
UConn Health Center $155 million
Graduate and professional education $135 million
Athletics $110 million
Total $600 million

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Connecticut and the UConn community,” says Denis McCarthy ’64, ’65, chairman of the campaign. “As an alumnus, I’m thrilled that we’re kicking off the biggest campaign in UConn’s history. UConn has grown from a small institution to one of the best public universities in the nation, and now is gaining an international reputation for cutting-edge research and development. Our University. Our Moment. is about taking the next step.”

The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. is a tax-exempt corporation that operates exclusively to promote the educational, scientific, cultural, and recreational objectives of the University of Connecticut. As the primary fund-raising vehicle for the university, the foundation’s mission is to solicit, receive, and administer gifts and financial resources from private sources to support UConn’s pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, and public service.

For more information about the campaign, please visit http://www.ourmoment.uconn.edu.

To support the UConn Health Center with a gift, please contact Dina Plapler, vice president for development, at 860-679-8077 or dplapler@foundation.uconn.edu.