AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced the launch of its most ambitious fund-raising campaign ever, “UMass Rising,” in its sesquicentennial year, setting a goal of $300 million to achieve new heights as a leader in the Commonwealth’s and the nation’s innovation economy.
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “To excel today, the best universities must adapt. Simply reacting to new circumstances will not do, much more is required. With UMass Rising, we are redefining the future by focusing on innovation and impact in the way we teach students, conduct research, create a diverse and inclusive community and play a national role in fashioning a sustainable future.”
To date, more than $183 million of the $300 million has been raised, more than 60 percent of the goal. That includes $13 million for athletics facilities. The campaign, in its quiet phase, officially started Jan. 1, 2010 and will conclude June 30, 2016. The previous campaign conducted by UMass Amherst raised $130 million, concluding in 2001.
The campaign will solicit broad-based support, Subbaswamy said, noting that growing the number of donors will help create a stronger philanthropic tradition for the years ahead. UMass Rising will be led by prominent alumni. The four campaign co-chairs are Douglas Berthiaume, chairman, president and CEO of Waters Corp., Milford; Robert Epstein, president of Horizon Beverage Co., Avon; David Fubini, director at McKinsey & Company, Boston, and a UMass trustee; and Eugene Isenberg, chairman emeritus of Nabors Industries Ltd., Houston.
In their appeal to fellow alumni and other supporters, the co-chairs noted that, “It is up to UMass Amherst to affect the quality of life for all of our citizens as no other public institution can. Additional scholarships for students – undergraduates and graduates – will mean more of them can finish school without unmanageable debt. More will have the chance to spread their wings and travel abroad, or take an internship that will provide valuable skills for later careers. While they are here, our students must have access to the finest educators and researchers, the most enriched programs and groundbreaking research, and facilities that are worthy of their lofty pursuits.”
The leadership also features four distinguished alumni as honorary co-chairs: Bill Cosby, entertainer and educator; Ken Feinberg, attorney and trailblazer in administering claims in disaster cases; Jack Smith, former CEO of General Motors; and Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric.
The comprehensive campaign, designed to enhance excellence and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the university, features five priorities.
· Support talented students by raising $55 million to create hundreds of merit and need-based scholarships and support for graduate assistantships, study abroad and career assistance.
· Support first-class faculty by raising $54 million to recruit and retain excellent faculty and increase the number of endowed chairs and professorships.
· Support research and programs by raising $97 million to underwrite new and existing centers and institutes, research initiatives and technology programs.
· Support buildings and infrastructure by raising $54 million to create buildings and learning spaces that support the campus’s educational mission. This includes renovation of the Old Chapel, restoring it to a central place in daily campus life.
· Support the Annual Fund by raising $40 million to provide ongoing funding that sustains, expands and enriches programs across campus.
Subbaswamy recalled the importance of philanthropy to UMass dating back to its origins 150 years ago. “Philanthropy has played a pivotal role from our start as an agricultural college in 1863. Shortly after the Congress passed the Morrill Act, three benefactors stepped forward to complete construction of the first buildings for a campus in the town of Amherst. Today, private support, particularly in the wake of reduced state funding, is as crucial as the first gifts received from those stirred by imaging a great public university.”