COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas A&M University has raised a record $740 million-plus within the past year, over $300 million more than in any previous 12-month period—and it now ranks among the nation's top fundraising institutions in higher education, public or private.
The record level of support for Texas A&M is attributed to several factors: the success the university is having in attracting record numbers of high-qualified students, helping them graduate in record numbers, faring well in their chosen careers—and, in another dimension, the institution's successful entry in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Also factoring is a significant demographic swing among Texas A&M graduates, with more reaching ages where they traditionally are in positions to make even larger gifts to their alma mater.
"The voluntary commitment of time, talent and treasure by Aggies begins as students and continues throughout their lives," said Chancellor John Sharp, a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M. "We are the very fortunate benefactors of their loyalty and respect for this fine institution and all that it represents. That is why A&M has far outpaced every university in the state and most in the nation."
The total includes gifts to the university; private grants made to the Division of Research; and contributions to the university's private partners: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the 12th Man Foundation. Contributions were documented between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2013.
"Texas A&M's visibility and reputation have never been greater, both within Texas and around the world," said University President R. Bowen Loftin, a member of Texas A&M's class of 1971. "We deeply appreciate the enthusiastic support of our former students and many other friends. Their generosity has enabled us to put students first, discover and apply new knowledge, and serve our state and nation in extraordinary ways."
The university's distinct fundraising entities give donors flexibility and allow them to decide how they wish to support Texas A&M. Contributions support scholarships, faculty, student activities, facilities, athletics and other projects that donors designate. An overwhelming majority of the funding will support academic programs at Texas A&M University.
Texas A&M Foundation President Ed Davis, a 1967 graduate of the university, attributes the remarkable results in part to a thriving energy sector, which continues to boost the Texas economy. He also noted that these results prove that donors continue to believe in the value of higher education.
"Private support for higher education will continue to be a necessity because of the broader demands on state resources," said Davis. "We have to continue to grow philanthropic contributions in order to provide the educated workforce of our state in the future."
According to Davis, "euphoria" surrounding the university's success in the SEC also has led to a significant number of capital gifts for the redevelopment of Kyle Field.
The record results across all Texas A&M organizations are due in large part to an influx of significant gifts from individuals and corporate donors. Highlights of some of these fundraising achievements include:
$20 million to support the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy.
$205 million in estate gift commitments, the largest annual amount in the history of the Texas A&M Foundation.
$31 million (half of the ultimate goal) for construction of a new engineering complex, part of the 25 by 25 initiative, which aims to enroll 25,000 engineering students by 2025.
$7.6 million for the annual fund, a 22 percent increase from last year and the largest in the history of The Association of Former Students. The annual fund supports scholarships and academic programs; student activities; and faculty, staff, and student award programs.
"The generosity of the Aggie Network during the last year has been especially inspiring," said Porter S. Garner III, president and CEO for The Association and a member of the class of 1979. "We provide an avenue for the Aggie Network to begin their philanthropy to Texas A&M with small, manageable gifts that make a big difference across our campus."
Skip Wagner, president and CEO of The 12th Man Foundation, which provides financial support for the university's athletics program, joined in citing broad-based fundraising successes.
"There has never been a more exciting period in Aggie Athletics history. The generous support of former students and friends alike has helped Texas A&M make a successful transition into the SEC," Wagner said. "On May 1, 2013 we announced plans for the redevelopment of Kyle Field, the most ambitious stadium project in the history of college athletics. Thanks to the generous support of our donors we are well on our way to making this dream a reality."
Frederick D. McClure, Chief Executive Officer of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and a member of Texas A&M's class of 1976 said the George Bush Presidential Library Center had an exceptional fundraising year, including a $4.5 million gift to support The Bush School of Government and Public Service. "We are sincerely grateful for the support of our donors, whose generosity helps us continue the enduring legacy of President Bush," he added.
Record giving to Texas A&M comes as the university plans a multi-year comprehensive campaign that is part of its Vision 2020 strategic plan, through which Texas A&M aspires to become a leader among peer public institutions. The campaign will position the university's core values, academic expertise and innovative research as solutions to some of society's most challenging issues. It will also further enhance the value of a Texas A&M degree for 53,000-plus current students and more than 360,000 living former students.