Campus raises $1.5M in connection with Cosby performance

By Ed Blaguszewski

Campus officials announced Oct. 29 that they have raised $1,518,500, inspired by the leadership of alumnus Bill Cosby, who starred in a benefit performance at the Mullins Center to kick off Homecoming. Proceeds from the event are part of the $1.5 million raised, which will be primarily devoted to scholarships.

Cosby, who presented the receipts from his appearance on campus as a gift to the university, earned his master’s degree and doctorate through the School of Education in the 1970s. Chancellor John V. Lombardi says Cosby has helped enormously in focusing attention on fund-raising for UMass Amherst. “We are preparing to launch a new campaign to raise the private funds needed move UMass Amherst forward,” Lombardi says. “The entire campus community thanks Bill Cosby for his help in beginning this critical task.”

According to campus officials, as of Oct. 25, individuals contributed $541,000 for newly endowed scholarship funds. Contributions from the Cosby pre-performance dinner generated $218,000 and gate receipts from tickets to the performance provided about $226,000. Corporate sponsorships made the Cosby event possible and total $150,000, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ endowment matching program will add approximately $383,500 for a total of $1,518,500.

Corporate sponsors and the UMass Amherst Alumni Association covered the costs of the dinner and facilities for the Cosby performance. Because Cosby donated his performance, it is possible to designate every dollar raised by the gala dinner and all ticket sales to student scholarships. Major contributions fall into the following categories:

$75,000 from Yankee Candle

$50,000 from the Alumni Association

$10,000, from Citizen’s Bank, The Coca Cola Company, John Hancock Financial
Services, and the Western Massachusetts Electric Company

$1,000-$6,000 from the Regional Technology Corporation, Auxiliary Services, and University Store & Textbook Annex

The campus also recognized the following individuals who have established endowed student scholarship funds:

Paul Carney ’82 – $330,000

Estate of Elizabeth Czapran ’58, ’72 M.Ed. – $25,000

Arlindo Jorge ’50 – $100,000

Richard M. ’73 and Nancy S. ’71 Kelleher – $61,000

Lillian R. Goodman and Mary K. Alexander ’74 G ’85 Ed.D. – $25,000