By Rae Jefferson
Baylor has long been an institution characterized by success and record setting, and its fundraising initiatives are no exception.
Baylor officials announced the university’s “record-shattering fundraising success” over the past two years in an email sent to the Baylor community Wednesday.
Between Feb. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2014, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends donated more than $345 million — more than the university has ever seen in that timespan.
“These two years have been unprecedented,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr, speaking of the new records set in total donations received and the number of donors who participated.
Of the more than 40,000 donors, 18,000 were first-time donors, Starr said.
“It’s not simply the magnitude of the total gifts that is so significant,” Starr said. “What’s truly significant is the total amount of financial support coupled with the outpouring of commitments from individuals who have never felt prompted to give to the university.”
Baylor athletics received $167 million of the funds received, while academics received $178 million. Of the funds reserved for academics, $68.8 million was given to the Hankamer School of Business, $14.4 million was given to the College of Arts and Sciences and $9.5 million was given to George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
The past couple of years have seen fundraising for several university initiatives, including the new football stadium, a new building to house the business school and a $100 million fund for the President’s Scholarship Initiative.
The scholarship initiative was completed in April 2013 — five months ahead of schedule — and with more than $104 million raised.
“We want Baylor education to be the very best in terms of Christian higher education,” Starr said. “We want to do everything we can to make that unique, invaluable education available to all students.”
A university press release said the two-year donation streak was kicked off by a gift from alumnus Drayton McLane Jr. in February 2012 to initiate fundraising for the construction of McLane Stadium, which was named in his honor.
The donation of an undisclosed amount was the largest capital gift the university had ever received at that time, the press release said. Capital refers to a donation made in the form of a building or facility.
“It was not simply a transformational gift — it was inspirational,” Starr said. “It inspired thousands of Baylor Bears, parents and friends to come alongside the university in a wide variety of ways.”
In June 2013, alumnus Paul Foster and his wife, Alejandra, made a $35 million donation to Baylor. This gift was the largest donation made by a living alumnus in the university’s history.
“We are experiencing a very special time in the history of our great University, and it is certainly reflected by the philanthropic spirit of the tens of thousands of Baylor alumni, faculty, staff, retirees, parents and friends who have generously and faithfully supported the University,” wrote Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, in a press release.
The $345 million raised over the past two years is just the beginning. Baylor Nation can expect to see Phase II of the university’s “From Here We Build” fundraising campaign, a five-year, $320 million initiative, as the university’s next step in the fundraising process.
“We are gratified but humbled by this two-year outpouring of support,” Starr said. “We are hoping it will continue to inspire those who have given, as well as those who have yet to give.”