After the University received over 450 million dollars from more than 92,000 donors, the 2016–2017 fiscal year became UT’s third-highest fundraising year.
2016–2017 is a non-capital campaign year, meaning UT was not conducting comprehensive fundraising to reach an ambitious fundraising goal. Scott Rabenold, vice president of development, said UT receiving a large number of donations outside of a campaign year was an achievement.
“Usually comprehensive campaigns are seven or eight years long and usually there’s a little more focus and bigger gifts,” Rabenold said. “So this has made it very special.”
Rabenold said the reason why UT has had such success with donations this past year is because of the increased attention in networking with potential donors.
“The University has become more focused on how we work with our alumni and friends,” Rabenold said. “We are getting a little bit better in our craft in talking to them about their opportunity to really have an impact. You’re seeing academic leadership spend more and more time on (talking to them) because it’s really about the opportunity to enrich the students and faculty through philanthropy.”
Eric Saldanha, the Internal Finance Director for Student Government, said the donations UT receives are being used efficiently to provide better resources for students.
“I can’t speak statistically, but it seems like most of these donations are going towards student-centered services,” said Saldanha, a business honors senior. “A lot of the funds are earmarked for a program that directly impacts students, whether it is financial aid, study abroad or mental health services. When they’re putting together a gift package, I think it is a priority to make sure that some portion of it is coming back to students.”
Jordee Rodriguez, Liberal Arts Council president, said the Counseling and Mental Health Center is a resource on campus that could use more funding.
“The CMHC is stretched really thin,” government junior Rodriguez said. “They have 50,000 students to tend to, and often times it is hard for them to provide resources to every single one of them.”
Saldanha said the CMHC has structured itself well for UT’s large campus and has the potential to grow with increased donations.
“We have one of the nation’s leading mental health centers at a college,” Saldanha said. “The more money we pour into it, the more successful it’s going to be.”