higher education

Rutgers University Raises a Record $187.9M in 2014-15

Fueled by a surge in donations at the end of the most successful fundraising campaign in its history, Rutgers University raised a record $187.9 million during the 2014-15 academic year.

That total marked a 26.6-percent increase over the previous year’s record of $148.4 million, the Rutgers University Foundation announced today.

“Thanks to the growing generosity of our donors, Rutgers University has greater resources to support our outstanding students, groundbreaking faculty research and new classrooms, labs and other world-class facilities,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi. “This record level of giving demonstrates donors’ enthusiasm for the vision outlined in the university’s comprehensive strategic plan, which will propel Rutgers to the ranks of the nation’s finest public universities.”

The five-year strategic plan, adopted in February 2014 by the Rutgers Board of Governors, outlines ambitious aspirations to promote faculty excellence, improve the student experience and enhance infrastructure, among other key priorities.

“Over the past year, Rutgers donors have supported undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty research and other priority programs across all corners of the university,” said Rutgers University Foundation President Nevin Kessler. “As we prepare to celebrate Rutgers’ 250th anniversary, we will continue to provide opportunities for individuals, foundations and other donors to support exciting, new initiatives throughout the university.”

Highlights from the past year include:

  • The successful completion of “Our Rutgers, Our Future,” the largest and most comprehensive fundraising campaign in the university’s nearly 250-year history. The seven-and-a-half-year campaign, which ended on Dec. 31, 2014, raised $1.037 billion – surpassing the original $1 billion goal by nearly 4 percent.
  • $15 million to create five new endowed chairs in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Two are at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – in pediatric hematology/oncology and genomic sciences; two are in New Jersey Medical School – in surgery and neurological surgery. The fifth endowed chair is in the Brain Health Institute, which was created in 2013 to coordinate research into brain disorders across the university and includes scientists in New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark and Camden. The institute is also affiliated with the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
  • $10 million in gifts to name the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering, honoring 1950 alumnus Richard N. Weeks, chairman of Weeks Marine, one of the leading marine construction, dredging and tunneling firms in the United States and Canada. The new building at Rutgers University-New Brunswick will enhance education, promote research and strengthen ties between Rutgers and New Jersey’s technology-based businesses. Weeks donated $6 million while another alumnus who has chosen not to be named provided $4 million as part of a challenge grant.
  • $1.25 million from The Prudential Foundation to support programming as part of “Express Newark: A University-Community Collaboratory.” A major community revitalization effort in the heart of New Jersey’s largest city, Express Newark will create a new and vibrant nexus for university-community collaborations, workforce development and appreciation of the arts. A bustling urban environment, Newark’s art scene has over time coalesced along Halsey Street. The creative concentration of galleries and artists’ studios there is bolstered by the proximity of the Newark Museum, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Public Library and Rutgers University-Newark. Until recently, the Hahne Building stood in the midst of all this progress, but in stark contrast to it.  Once complete, this urban landmark will leverage its centralized location, serving as a hub of engaged scholarship and an incubator for all things creative in Newark. Managed by Rutgers faculty and Newark-based art organizations, Express Newark activities will share a common theme of connectedness to community – seeking to document, find beauty in and improve conditions throughout the city.
  • The pro bono and public interest initiatives underway at Rutgers Law School will expand their reach throughout the state with a $1 million investment to support future practitioners and those unable to afford legal services, thanks to Rutgers Law-Camden alumnus James R. Maida and his wife Sharon. James Maida, a 1990 graduate, is founder, president and CEO of Gaming Laboratories International, headquartered in Lakewood. Sharon O’Mara Maida, a 1997 Rutgers University Graduate School of Education alumna, is nationally recognized as a pioneer in the area of orientation and mobility of blind and visually impaired children. The Maidas have long supported Rutgers students through generous scholarships. Now with their $1 million gift, the Maida Public Interest Scholars Program will establish the law school as one of the nation’s leading public law schools for public interest law.
  • $14.7 million in gifts and commitments to Rutgers Athletics – an 18.1-percent jump over the previous year. Athletics also had a record 9,048 donors, a 16.5-percent increase over the previous year.
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