UM In Celebration Mode As Campaign Sets State Record
The excitement built for five years. As the final days approached, the numbers climbed closer to the confident, and what many thought, overly optimistic predictions made by University of Montana President George Dennison. When the announcement came that UM’s Invest in Discovery campaign raised an unprecedented $131 million, UM Foundation workers responded with hugs and exclamations of appreciation.
Elated by the record-setting results, National Campaign Chair Deborah Doyle McWhinney says, “The outpouring of support from more than 29,500 alumni and friends is testament of the love and respect people have for this University, its faculty, students, staff, and programs. I send out a thank you the size of the state of Montana to the donors and cadre of volunteers who helped and contributed.”
UM President George Dennison joined McWhinney in a celebratory toast and notes that, “Private support has positioned the University as a world-class institution.” He points out that donors always are able to direct their gifts to areas of campus that are most meaningful to them. Generally, the campaign gifts fall into the following main categories:
- $26 million for student scholarships
- $11 million for faculty support
- $57 million for academic programs
- $37 million for new and renovated facilities
Spotlighting just a few individuals illustrates how this investment in UM already impacts lives. Take for instance Salisha Old Bull, a twenty-six-year-old graduate student who is one of the many beneficiaries of donor generosity.
Old Bull is the first UM student to receive the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Native American Graduate Fellowship for pursuit of her master’s degree in public administration. When she completes the two-year program, Old Bull, who is of Salish and Crow heritage, says she wants to attend law school, preferably at UM.
Old Bull says she feels lucky and honored to have the fellowship because such funding opportunities are rare, especially for graduate students. “Getting this fellowship allows me to accomplish my dreams,” she says.
Impact of the campaign also can be seen in UM’s stellar faculty. The Donald and Carol Jean Byrnes Professor of Finance, Keith Jakob, says the private funding he’s received “has been tremendously beneficial to my career as a faculty member in the School of Business Administration.” Winner of the Outstanding Teaching Award on behalf of Beta Alpha Psi, Jakob adds, “I could focus much more attention on enhancing my current courses and working on various research projects.”
Fundraising continues for campaign priorities such as the addition to the School of Law. “The generous philanthropy of our building donors demonstrates the qualities marking the best of our profession and our friends. Working together, we are making this critical project a reality. With great pride, we celebrate your support for the next generation of UM law students,” says Dean Ed Eck.
Speaking to the overall success of the Invest in Discovery campaign, McWhinney notes, “Nearly 13,000 first-time donors and donations of all sizes pushed the campaign way over the top. These donors heard the stories of the groundbreaking research at the University and said, ‘I want to be a part of this. I want to make this place even better.’ This historic investment will ensure excellence in higher education and will pay dividends to our state for years to come.”
Many critical needs still exist at UM that would benefit from continued support. Call the UM Foundation at 800-443-2593 or go online to www.DiscoveryNeverEnds.org.