sealPurdue Letter from the President

Fund-raising success a testament to those who give

July 2002

In the spring of 2001, Purdue established a goal to raise $200 million in private donations during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. This was a very ambitious target, because just two years ago, gifts to the university totaled less than $90 million. They increased to a record $173 million last year, and we knew that maintaining that kind of momentum would be a challenge.

But this month, when we added up the gifts that came from alumni, friends, and corporate and foundation partners, the total was $234 million. That’s a remarkable achievement and a testament to the commitment members of the Purdue family have for their university.

The figures included:

• $150 million in outright gifts of cash and securities, a 50 percent increase.

• $53 million in pledges, an overall increase of 23 percent.

• $30 million in planned gifts, a 50 percent increase.

Purdue alumni provided almost 30 percent of total 2001-2002 gift income, while corporations gave 31.2 percent, and foundations 16.4 percent.

This kind of support is absolutely crucial if Purdue is to achieve its primary goal of becoming a preeminent university. The finances of higher education have changed drastically during the past two decades. As a land-grant institution, Purdue traditionally has relied on state support as its fiscal foundation. While these funds remain the "first dollar" in our operating budget, the state’s share in the cost of educating students has declined progressively, while the share paid by students and their families has increased.

While I believe it is very important to reverse this trend and renew the public commitment to invest in higher education, I also recognize that we must find other resources. It is almost universally true that great American universities – public and private – are highly successful at raising money from private donors.

Purdue has begun to move in a very positive direction in this respect, and we will take the effort to a higher level this fall when we launch the largest fund-raising campaign in the university’s history.

However, it is important to understand that private giving – although an indispensable part of the formula for excellence – cannot replace the funding provided by the state to support the operation of academic programs.

Some of the gifts and pledges made during the 2001-2002 fiscal year included:

• $30 million from Michael and Katherine Birck and $10 million from Don and Carol Scifres for the Birck Nanotechnology Center.

• $26 million from the Lilly Endowment to support programs in Purdue's Discovery Park.

• $21.2 million in timberland from the Fred van Eck estate to the Department of Forestry in the School of Agriculture.

• $3 million from Dick and Sandy Dauch for the alumni center to be named in their honor.

While this list includes some of the largest gifts in Purdue history, and every one of them will make the university a better and more exciting place, each of them is targeted to a very specific use. This is the nature of private support. People, foundations, and corporations contribute to the things that excite them, and the university is obligated to use their gifts as they intend. For the day-to-day operation of programs, the unrestricted funds that come from state appropriations and student fees are necessary.

What can gifts do for Purdue? They can pay for construction of buildings. They can fund scholarships and fellowships for students. They can support endowments that help the university recruit and retain distinguished faculty members. They can help purchase equipment and fund programs.

We will ask members of the Purdue family to help with all these things and more during the coming campaign, and I’m confident they will come forward enthusiastically to support their university. Exciting things are happening here. Purdue is giving its people the opportunity to change the world.

Martin C. Jischke