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UA Foundation beats their fundraising record

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Maverick Arnold | The Daily Wildcat Outside of the University of Arizona Foundation Center, located on North Cherry Avenue.

The fundraising goal for the University of Arizona Foundation was reached yet again this year, making it the second year in a row to break the record for philanthropic donations to the university. 

The foundation, in support of the UA, raised $334.6 million during the 2019 fiscal year, according to a university press release. This is an increase of over $17 million from last year’s total of $317 million. 

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John-Paul Roczniak, the president and CEO of the UA Foundation as well as the vice president of development at the UA, said he is very grateful for all the support from alumni and friends.

“We have a very dedicated group of donors who care about the institution,” Roczniak said. “We have a president who is inspiring people to give more.”

Two large donations were made by Dr. Andrew Weil and James Wyant, esteemed UA faculty members who have established positions at the university in integrative medicine and optical sciences.

Weil contributed $15 million as well as a $5 million gift for the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and established the Andrew Weil Endowed Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine. 

David Hahn, dean of the College of Engineering, recognized how integral endowed chairs are in keeping top-notch faculty members working at the university.

“What chairs allow you to do is attract and retain the best, absolutely world-class faculty,” Hahn said.

Hahn stated that the endowed chairs provide resources to faculty members to invest in research and education, while also “adding a level of prestige.”

Wyant and his family committed $20 million for a minimum of 10 endowed chairs to recruit more distinguished faculty members. James Wyant is the founding dean and professor emeritus of the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences.

“The number of donors was a record year for us,” Roczniak said. “People gave at every level.”

The foundation’s board members laid out a specific plan laid so that alumni and other donors can get a better idea of what exactly their money will go toward. 

“The strategic plan has laid out a vision that people are excited about,” Roczniak said. “We’ve been able to make some really good things happen.”

David Hahn agreed that the focused vision of the university has allowed people to see a clearer picture of the future.

“People want to invest in a plan and a vision to make the University of Arizona better,” Hahn said.

The scope of what the UA Foundation works to beneift is very wide, with multiple different areas receiving funding. Roczniak said that the endowment funds scholarships, faculty chairs, programs and capital projects.

“Pick a corner of the institution and I can guarantee you there’s gifts that support it,” Roczniak said.

The endowment not only goes toward improvements on campus and faculty, but also keeping the UA Foundation stocked with the best representatives.

“We’ve been able to hire more development officers to meet with alumni, parents and friends to see if they’re interested in giving,” Roczniak said. 

Within the past year, the UA was commended for their fundraising with an Educational Fundraising Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. 

Specific colleges such as the College of Engineering plan to use some of the grant money for improving their program. Starting with the students helps the university be hands-on in their giving. 

“For engineering, what we’re really going to do with these resources is bring the concept of engineering design throughout our entire program,” Hahn said. 

The record number of scholarships and renovations made to the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library are certainly noticeable to students, and the university hopes to keep making these improvements to benefit the campus.

“The goal is always to do more,” Roczniak said. “One of the big pushes for this year is pillar one of the strategic plan, which is all about the wildcat journey and student success.” 

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The UA Foundation will host an event on Nov. 1 on campus about a new program being launched to support students through finding scholarships and affordable housing. Creating new opportunities to help students find the resources they need is immensely important to the foundation.

Helping students directly through the endowment will not only make noticeable improvements, but also encourage others to donate more in the future. 

“We are really going to focus on the student aspect of fundraising next year,” Roczniak said. “We are forever grateful to our donors and whoever gives back to our university.”


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