UC Davis on Friday celebrated a fundraising goal reached one year earlier than anticipated, unfurling a banner along the north side of Shields Library:
$1 billion … and counting, it reads.
The Campaign for UC Davis, which began in 2006, is set to conclude on May 31, 2014. UCD has taken in more than $400 million since the campaign’s public phase was launched in October 2010.
Campus leaders gathered with dozens of donors, the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh and the school’s mascot, Gunrock.
Chancellor Linda Katehi expressed pride in what the university community, including alumni and other supporters, had accomplished together.
She emphasized the way students benefit from donations, even those not earmarked for scholarships. For instance, money that goes toward research helps fund graduate students and affords undergraduates the chance to take part in research.
“I came to many of you in many different forums to ask for your support, for our students,” she told the donors on hand. “It was during a very difficult time for the state of California. It was during a very difficult time for UC Davis. It was when we lost more than 30 percent of our budget and we increased tuition by more than 30 percent.
“Because of your support and because of the wonderful financial aid programs that we have, more than 52 percent of our students pay no tuition. More than 68 percent of our students pay $27,000 or less to get a degree. That makes me very proud because it shows that we have been able to provide access to these wonderful students who have the ability, who have the potential and who have the drive.”
The campaign counted all gifts and pledges to every program across the university. Donors directed their funds to the following areas:
* $462 million for student and faculty scholarship, research and instruction;
* $211 million for patient care;
* $135 million for student support;
* $108 million for university environment and capital projects;
* $48 million for endowed chairs and professorships; and
* $40 million in unrestricted funds.
The largest donation: a $100 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to establish a nursing school.
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing admitted its first students in 2010. About 450 students have received graduate degrees there at no cost because of the endowment funded by the Moore Foundation.
Donors have funded 1,481 scholarships, fellowships, awards and other activities for UCD students, of which 1,051 are newly created, making Friday a day not just to celebrate not just big numbers — but individual accomplishments made possible, in part, by the funding.
Take the story of Darryl Goss, a 1983 UCD graduate, and his wife, Lois, a 1985 grad.
They couple has long supported their alma mater, but it took a student like Moriah Cenance to make them feel more comfortable about speaking openly about giving money — and encouraging others to do the same.
On a visit to campus, Goss, the vice president of BioReliance, a biotechnology company, met Cenance, a double major in African-American studies and sociology, the first recipient of a cash award for junior and senior African-American studies majors made possible by a gift from the Gosses.
Cenance talked about her studies and about her goal of returning to South Central Los Angeles to practice law.
“Lois and I had nothing to do with who received the scholarship, but to come back and see (Moriah had) received it made it extra special,” said Goss. “She made us more comfortable about openly talking about it.
“The reason is because, we’re happy. We’re proud to be a part of Davis. And she came to us and she said, ‘I’m going to show you this is a great investment.’ More importantly, she said, ‘When I’m finished, I’m going to give back.’ ”
Cenance said she was grateful for the money, which helped her purchase books, pay her rent and buy food. Now a senior, she hasn’t lost the confidence that so won over the Gosses.
“I want to get into Stanford,” she said, then corrected herself: “I look forward to getting into Stanford.”
The university received gifts and pledges from 102,600 donors. More than half of the $1 billion total came from California residents, with the largest amount — $148.9 million — from Santa Clara County, followed by $59.6 million from Sacramento County. Yolo County residents gave $53 million.
Donations came from all 50 states. New York topped donations from outside of California with $44 million, followed by $38 million from Washington.
UCD also received $34.5 million in donations from residents of 60 counties, led by $12.2 million from Japan and $5 million from the United Kingdom.
UCD announced three new donations at Friday’s event:
* Gerald and Susan Knapp of Carmichael gave more than $1 million, half to fund cancer research and half to support the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
* Davis residents Dick and Joy Dorf made a $250,000 gift to support the Mondavi Center. Dick is a professor emeritus of the Graduate School of Management.
* UCD received an estate gift of $2 million: half to create an endowment to support in perpetuity the White Family Fellows Student Award, which goes to graduate students in the John Muir Institute of Environment, and the balance supporting the UCD’s animal shelter medicine program. UCD did not release more information about the donors, at their request.
The campus has ascended into the top 2 percent of university fundraising programs in the United States with the success of the campaign. Shawn Keister took the helm in 2011 as the university’s first vice chancellor for alumni relations.
He said UCD broke the $1 billion barrier on Oct. 6.
“We had an informal happy dance, then we swore everyone to secrecy (until Friday’s announcement),” he said.
Keister added about a dozen full-time fundraisers upon his arrival, bringing UCD to about 75. They crisscross the country, meeting with supporters and alumni. UC Berkeley and UCLA have more than 200 such fundraisers, by comparison, Keister said.
The campaign “never lost momentum,” even when the economy soured, he said.
Keister pushed fundraisers to see even more potential donors. UCD made student support a greater point of emphasis. And donors responded.
UCD’s next campaign likely will begin with a silent phase about two years from now, he said. Until then, UCD will finish out this campaign and hold discussions on campus and with supporters about what areas most need funding.
On Friday, Keister resisted thinking ahead.
“I want this day to go as slowly as possible,” he said. “People who do this for a living may only get two or three days like this in their lifetimes.”
— Reach Cory Golden at email@example.com or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden