Fund Raisers Appeal to Faculty
and Staff for Campaign Contributions
By Arthur Sorrentino
Nearly two-thirds of the way through the $300 million Campaign UConn fund-raising effort, the University of Connecticut Foundation this week plans to issue an appeal to faculty and staff members to consider making a financial investment in the future of the University.
Headed by volunteers Judy Kelly, '73, '78, professor of molecular and cell biology, and Kevin Fahey, associate director of campus activities and president of the professional employees' association UCPEA, the current appeal is focused on gifts to the Annual Fund and will continue through the remainder of calendar year 2002.
This is not the first time that the University community has been asked to act generously on behalf of UConn. The first faculty and staff campaign took place during the University's initial capital fund-raising effort. A second appeal occurred during the spring of 2001, organized by the annual giving department of the UConn Foundation. Total gifts from faculty and staff in 2001 reached $638,158 from 1,056 donors, up from $449,404 donated by 916 faculty and staff the previous year.
According to Rob Henry, director of special and annual giving for the UConn Foundation, while the goal is to increase the dollars raised each year, it's just as important for the number of individual donors to grow. "High levels of participation from faculty and staff members demonstrate their commitment to the University, and this in turn has a positive impact on individuals, corporations, and foundations who may be considering a gift to UConn," he says. "The message we'd like to express to everyone is that any gift, large or small, is valued as a way to get us closer to our goals as an institution."
Henry also points out that across the country, universities are seeing an increase in planned giving by faculty and staff members. The UConn Foundation has a staff available to assist anyone with questions concerning these options.
University President Philip E. Austin is among those making a personal investment through Campaign UConn. Speaking of his decision to fund an endowment that will support the Honors Program, Austin said: "We set high standards for all of our students, but the Honors Program provides a special vehicle to recruit students of extraordinary talent and potential. The more such students we can attract to campus, the greater the sense of academic excitement in the classroom and the lab - and that is a benefit for everyone here. Moreover, a strong Honors Program is one of several ways to reverse the 'brain drain' that in past years led too many outstanding young people to go to other states to pursue their college education."
Professor Kelly, who also serves on the Campaign UConn steering committee, has long been a proponent of giving back to the University. She and her husband, David, who retired four years ago as department head of art and art history, have given consistently to the School of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural History, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, and the University Libraries.
"We've got decades of experience and association with UConn," she says. "We see what UConn has done for students, and we feel these opportunities to support the Annual Fund will enhance the experience."
Kevin Fahey and his wife, Jeanne, a senior admissions officer, have contributed for many years to areas such as the Division of Athletics and the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. They are members of The Founders Society, the association for donors who give $1,000 a year or more to benefit UConn.
"The University does a lot of great things. I like to think I play a role in that greatness," says Fahey. "Obligation is not the right word - giving just seems like the right thing to do."
In their message to faculty and staff, Kelly and Fahey focus on maintaining the momentum that has carried UConn into the upper reaches of public research universities nationwide: "It is important that UConn continues to prosper and grow, to provide the priceless education, research and outreach that the world has come to know and expect. This is the time for each of us to decide how we will influence the coming years, and to choose the part we will play in that endeavor."
Employees may choose to make a contribution through payroll deduction. For more information or to obtain a pledge form, contact Allison Grebe, associate director of annual giving, at (860) 486-1565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.