University reins in athletic department fundraisers

That would be Vanderbilt University. Rick Seltzer in InsideHigherEd:

Long-running tensions between athletics and academics are on display once again at Vanderbilt University, with charges surfacing that the athletics side is being prevented from raising money from some donors courted by university fund-raisers.

Blocking certain donors is undercutting efforts to raise funds for a new football stadium project, The Tennessean reported last week. Citing multiple sources, the newspaper wrote that a lack of progress toward a new or renovated stadium “may be self-inflicted.”

In an accompanying piece, columnist Joe Rexrode recounted being told two years ago by a source that athletics fund-raisers have been “scolded away from top donors” and that coaches have been frustrated because they are unable to get money for “small things that would be considered essential” at other universities. …

“I think most people would say it’s not unusual to have some competition between athletics and academics, or even within academic units,” said David Bass, a senior director of research at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. …

Anecdotal evidence shows the divide between athletic and academic priorities surfaces frequently. Elizabeth King is the president and CEO of the Wichita State University Foundation. She isn’t familiar with the situation at Vanderbilt, but she recalled conversations she’s seen between fund-raising professionals on email distribution lists.

“This does seem to be problematic at a number of institutions,” she said. “It’s just the whole collaboration. Athletics has perks, many times, that the academic side can’t begin to provide.”

The story goes on to discuss crowding-out and crowding-in of academic donations by athletic fundraising.

Meanwhile, here at UO, our VP for Development has just hired Jim Bartko, a former Duck Associate Athletic Director who as AD at Fresno State doubled the subsidy that the academic side must pay athletics to $19M.

His new job? Ostensibly it’s to fundraise for UO’s academic side.

Meanwhile, the RG reports that UO’s fundraising results have been mixed:

UO fundraising attracts $131 million on heels of record gift — a 4-year low

…The UO reported receiving $131 million in gifts and other contributions, its lowest total since the 2013-14 fiscal year. It’s only the second time since the state agreed in 2013 to give the UO more independence with its own board of trustees that the university has failed to raise at least $200 million in donations in a year.

Still, the down year followed a blockbuster 2016-17 fiscal year, where the UO pulled in $695 million, thanks to the long-anticipated $500 million pledge from the Nike co-founder and his wife for the science campus, which is currently under construction.

1/3 of the $1.8B raised in this campaign has gone to the athletic department. Of the rest, most seems to be going to the Knight Campus:

The UO’s biggest donations over the last year were:

• $10 million from the Robert J. DeArmond Trust to provide permanent funding for the director of the under-construction Knight science campus through an endowment. Robert Guldberg, a biomedical engineer and college administrator from Georgia Tech, has been hired as the campus’s first executive director. His starting salary is $550,000 a year. Lumber executive Robert DeArmond and his wife Leona, now both deceased, were UO alumni and longtime donors to the school.

• $3.5 million from Dan and Peggy Neal to support entrepreneurship programs at the UO’s Lundquist College of Business. Dan Neal is a lawyer who has recently developed several student housing projects near the UO.

• $3 million from longtime UO donor Lorry Lokey for other endowed positions at the Knight campus. Lokey, who founded Business Wire, a leading international news release wire service, has been a big donor to higher education institutions throughout the state.

• $2 million anonymous gift for student advising support in the UO’s new Willie and Don Tykeson Hall and the school’s PathwayOregon scholarship program.

• $1 million from Timothy and Virginia Foo to endow a faculty position with the School of Music and Dance. Timothy Foo graduated from the UO’s music school and was a music professor at Drake University.

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2 Responses to University reins in athletic department fundraisers

  1. Schoolmarm says:

    reins in, not reigns in

  2. uomatters says:

    Whoops, thanks.

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