UF announces largest fundraising campaign in university history

October 12, 2017
Tom Mitchell

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Go Greater positions UF to be a leader in addressing 21st century challenges

The University of Florida has undertaken the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history to continue its rise as one of the nation’s leading public universities, UF officials will announce tonight at an exciting campus event. The $3 billion initiative — tagged Go Greater —is among the largest active campaigns for a public university and almost double the $1.72 billion raised during UF’s previous campaign, which concluded in 2012.

Resources secured during the Go Greater campaign will be the catalyst necessary for the university to address some of society’s biggest challenges, such as improving cybersecurity, ensuring lasting global food and fresh water supplies, creating clean energies, combating emerging diseases, solving health issues like diabetes and obesity, and dealing with a rapidly changing natural environment. The campaign’s announcement follows UF’s No. 9 ranking on the 2018 U.S. News and World Report’s list of best national public universities; and it reflects a shared vision between state and university leaders for UF to be a global standard-bearer in higher education. University leadership expressed its gratitude to Florida’s governor and elected officials for their support in this private-public partnership.

The campaign is entering its “public phase” with momentum. More than 500,000 gifts were received and $1.3 billion raised during its three-year “quiet phase” — when some of the university’s most generous philanthropists invested in UF to set the stage for the campaign’s public announcement. Some of those leadership commitments:

  • $75 million from Miami couple Al and Judy Warrington, to enhance teaching and research in UF’s Warrington College of Business;
  • $50 million from South Florida entrepreneur Herbert and Nicole Wertheim, to revolutionize engineering education and research;
  • $32 million from Andrew and Pamela Banks, to create endowments that support faculty and scholarships for Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars; and,
  • $16 million from South Carolina businesswoman Anita Zucker, to establish a center for early childhood studies, enhance brain discovery and support first-generation Opportunity Scholars.

“The Go Greater campaign is about the people, the families and the communities the university serves, from Gainesville to around the globe,” President Kent Fuchs said. “It’s about generating the resources that will allow us to lead the nation’s premier universities in exceptional education, impactful research and far-reaching public engagement.”

Gifts made during the campaign will elevate UF’s discovery, academics and outreach, while strengthening the university’s role as an economic engine and trusted resource for people throughout the nation, he said. Among the campaign’s priorities are investing in programs, projects and initiatives that support biodiversity research and education, early childhood studies, technology transfer, medicines, food safety and security, and a deeper understanding of the human brain. Specific goals for the campaign are to:

  • Create 200 more faculty endowments and 400 new student scholarships;
  • Invest in priority infrastructure and facilities;
  • Fund multidisciplinary “Bright Ideas”;
  • Strengthen UF’s national and global stature;
  • Raise $3 billion in campaign commitments; and,
  • Add $1 billion to UF’s endowment.

“Never in the history of civilization have changes and opportunities been as abrupt or globally consequential — or as hopeful — as they are now. Our universities will the lead way in the 21st century, and the University of Florida is one of the most important, influential and impactful. Go Greater will enable us to meet those challenges — whatever they might be — head-on, with resolve and strength,” said Anita Zucker, the campaign’s volunteer chair for 2017-2018.

The Go Greater campaign is expected to conclude in fall 2022. It is the university’s fourth campaign since 1986.

The University of Florida, the state’s flagship university, is the U.S. News and World Report’s ninth-highest ranked public university. It serves more than 50,000 students from 50 states and 131 countries. With five professional schools and 200 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes on a single 2,000-acre campus, UF offers educational opportunities matched by only five universities worldwide. Almost 400,000 UF alumni represent the Gator Nation globally. For information about the Go Greater campaign, visit www.uff.ufl.edu/gogreater

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