University of Florida fundraising tops $500 million for the second consecutive year
University of Florida alumni and friends came together once again last fiscal year to invest $523 million in their university to address some of humankind’s biggest challenges. Those gifts provide scholarships and professorships, enhance life-changing programs, enable UF doctors to make medical breakthroughs, support projects that improve communities, and fund other undertakings for the good of Floridians and people across the world. This marks the second time in as many years that UF fundraising has topped $500 million.
The new investments in UF bring the university’s Go Greater campaign’s six-year fundraising total to $2.7 billion — or 90 percent of its original $3 billion goal, with 26 months remaining. Go Greater is the fourth campaign in UF’s history and one of the most ambitious ever in all of higher education.
During the campaign, UF has climbed to No. 7 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of the best public universities. That’s not a coincidence, UF President Kent Fuchs said.
“Our rise has a direct link to the overwhelming private support from alumni and friends,” he explained. “It’s because people care so deeply about this university and its mission that we have the momentum to be one of the world’s truly transformational institutions. When the Gator Nation’s passion and generosity is combined with the brainpower, ingenuity and commitment of our professors, and with the added bonus of our talented students, the University of Florida really is an unstoppable force.”
Last year’s gifts reflect the diversity of the entire Gator Nation. Donors were from across the world and spanned professions and generations — from entrepreneurs and engineers, teachers and nurses, artists and scientists and new graduates to retirees.
Their combined contributions are moving UF forward in five broad focus areas — global impact, leadership, innovation, health care and the environment — while opening the university’s doors wide to Florida’s brightest scholars through scholarships and student programs. Among last year’s giving highlights are:
- Chris Malachowsky, along with his company, NVIDIA, pledged $50 million in February to make UF a global leader in artificial intelligence innovation and training. Their investment will help integrate AI into teaching and research across academic majors to solve some of the society’s most formidable challenges.
- UF Health Jacksonville will open a program in 2021 to help young veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries. The collaboration is made possible through a $12.5 million grant from the Avalon Fund, a partnership between Marcus Institute for Brain Health at the University of Colorado and Boulder Crest Foundation, with support from The Marcus Foundation and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta.
- Former UF professor and textbook author Eugene Brigham added $10.5 million to the Warrington College of Business’ Brigham Finance Excellence Fund. Brigham’s latest gift brings his total UF giving to more than $20 million. The college’s finance, insurance and real estate department will be named in his honor.
- In February, nearly 17,000 alumni, students and friends rallied to support the university’s second annual Stand Up and Holler: Gator Nation Giving Day. Gators from as far away as Turkey, Israel, France and Hawaii together donated $23.6 million in 24 hours.
- Dance Marathon, the university’s annual student-run fundraiser for UF’s children’s hospital, brought in $2.5 million in March despite having to be hosted virtually for the first time because of pandemic-related social distancing restrictions. During the 26.2-hour marathon, 5,363 donations were made.
“Our university community has always been extraordinary, and now we’re on the threshold of a whole new level of greatness,” Go Greater campaign co-chairs Ken and Linda McGurn said in a statement. “Never in our lifetimes has it been more important than it is now for the University of Florida to be a beacon of discovery and hope. That so many of our fellow Gators also believe so strongly in UF’s ability to solve monumental challenges is a testament to the students, faculty and staff at this institution.”
With just over two years remaining in UF’s $3 billion Go Greater campaign, this year’s fundraising is helping to shape the university’s future, UF Foundation Chair Anita Zucker said.
“What we’ve done this year will influence what our university will be able to do for the next decade,” she said. “Every dollar raised is a building block to UF’s future discoveries, a student’s academic experience, a patient’s survival, a family’s well-being. Florida and the world need UF more than ever, and when Gators come together we ensure that our university can deliver on that promise.”
The University of Florida, the state’s flagship university, serves more than 56,000 students from throughout the United States and many other countries. With five professional schools and 200 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes on a single 2,000-acre campus, UF offers educational opportunities matched by only seven universities worldwide. UF is currently ranked No. 7 on U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of best public universities.