University Surpasses Annual Private Fundraising Record

UCSD completed its record-breaking year of private fundraising on Sept. 24, during which it raised $177.5 million.

The amount collected came from over 43,000 gifts and grants to the school. This sum exceeded last year’s total of $148.3 million by 20 percent. Other UC campuses such as UCLA raised $643 million in the same year while UC Berkeley raised $395 million during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Steve Gamer told the UCSD Guardian how fundraising helps supplement the school’s budget in addition to state funding.

“Public universities like UCSD receive just a fraction of their total annual budgets from state funding,” Gamer said. “Thus, charitable contributions are critical to ensure excellence, now and in the future.”

UCSD Health Services received the majority of the funds with 56 percent of the total amount. Of this allotment, a gift of $20 million went toward the future Jacobs Medical Center, which is expected to open in 2016. This center will serve as the largest hospital project in Southern California and will look to provide care for advanced surgical procedures, cancer and specialized treatment for women and infants.

The largest contributors were foundations that donated approximately 37.6 percent of the total funds. Robert and Allison Price, the son and daughter-in-law of Sol Price, the namesake of Price Center, donated $6 million via Price Philanthropies to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This established the Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund, which provides an outreach program in the ocean and earth sciences.

Gamer denoted that donors have discretion over how their contributions are used and spent.

“Most donations are designated to a specific area and for a specific purpose; for instance supporting a scholarship in dance,” Gamer said. “Unrestricted gifts are designated by the academic leader in the particular area; for instance, Dean Padden can decide how to spend unrestricted gifts donated to Social Sciences.”

Alumnus Taner Halicioglu donated $2 million toward the Computer Science and Engineering department to benefit undergraduates specifically. According to the UCSD News Center, the donation is a response to the lasting impression a professor made on Halicioglu during his undergraduate studies. The department will use his gift to recruit, retain and support professors and lecturers that were hired with the principal task of educating students.

Sixth College senior Lucas Marzocco, a computer science major, discussed how an increased number of educators could improve the availability of courses.

“I’m glad that the money from Taner is going to something that the CSE department really needs: more professors and even lecturers,” Lucas told the Guardian. “All of the main courses are taught every quarter, but what about all of the electives that others need? Students could actually graduate on time because they could get the classes they needed, and we’d have a very decent teaching staff. His generous donation is definitely appreciated, so I hope that we can see it in effect soon.”

Gamer further argued that every division should receive financial funding to build a foundation for future achievement.

“We have many areas of need at UCSD,” he said. “Private support, no matter how large or small, can make a positive impact in finding the cure for cancer, developing policies to promote global security and setting our future doctors, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs on the pathway to success by providing scholarships or graduate student support.”

He disclosed the next venture’s intended use of campuswide action and its coordination with the university’s Strategic Plan, an initiative to have a student-centered, research-focused and service-oriented public university.

“UCSD’s goal is to launch a campuswide fundraising campaign in November 2016 aligned to the needs in the Strategic Plan,” Gamer said. “We need to continue to generate visibility about what the university is trying to accomplish to inspire and encourage donors to support UCSD’s vision and mission.”