University of Florida launches top 10 fundraising initiative
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida has launched an ambitious initiative to raise $800 million during the next three years to position UF among the nation’s best public research universities.
The initiative is, in part, a response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s call for UF to become a top 10 public university. Earlier this year, Scott signed into law a bill designating UF as a preeminent university and providing $15 million a year for five years with the goal of lifting UF to top 10 status. Through fundraising, UF will match that amount.
Funds raised will strengthen UF’s role as an economic engine and major resource for people throughout the nation. The initiative is tagged UF Preeminence to reflect a shared vision between state and university leaders for Florida to become a leader in education, health care, business and other areas.
“Being a top 10 university isn’t about bragging rights; it’s about being an institution that is among the best at fulfilling its missions of research, education, service and economic development,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “We already have terrific people with the will and drive to push us to the top. With the right resources, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll get there.”
To climb in national rankings and better serve Floridians and others, the UF Preeminence initiative will target investments in faculty and students. One of the primary goals is to create endowed professorships and chair positions so UF can better retain and recruit talented faculty members. Such endowments provide funding for lab equipment, stipends for student assistants and other resources that enhance the work of professors and researchers.
The UF Preeminence initiative will benefit disciplines across campus. Funds raised will help bolster UF’s most successful programs and endeavors, and lift others to higher prominence. That could translate into better health, solutions to dwindling freshwater supplies, sustainable energy alternatives, tastier vegetables and more robust crops, cutting-edge discoveries, a stronger economy, more enjoyable retirement years and better-engaged schoolchildren.
“UF Preeminence is the beginning of a new chapter in UF’s history that will bring us to a new level of excellence. This initiative is a game-changer that will make an already great university even better, and when that happens we all win because the work being done at UF improves the lives of all of us,” said Kelley Bergstrom, chair of the board of directors of the University of Florida Foundation, UF’s fundraising arm.
UF Preeminence is scheduled to run through June 2016.