The University of Houston System (UHS) raised a record-setting $112.5 million in private support in 2011-2012, the largest total in the institution’s history. At the University of Houston (UH), the system’s flagship university, fundraising exceeded $100 million, far surpassing its $80 million goal, with a record number of alumni supporting UH through annual gifts.
“It has been a remarkable year for the University of Houston and the UH System,” said Eloise Dunn Stuhr, vice chancellor/vice president for advancement. “Financially, being ‘in the red’ is something you typically try to avoid. But when it’s ‘Cougar red’ like this, it’s great,” Stuhr said of the record donations at UH, whose colors are scarlet and white. “It is gratifying to see this level of private support for students at all of our universities.”
UH received $109 million in contributions— an increase of more than $30 million from the previous year— to fund student success initiatives, scholarships and privately funded capital projects. Gifts to athletics in support of the football stadium led the fundraising effort within UH, followed by gifts to Houston Public Media, the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and the C.T. Bauer College of Business. One of the largest individual donations will establish the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute within the College of Optometry. Alumnus Dr. Doug Barnes and his wife, Molly, pledged $5 million which will be submitted for state matching funds through the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP). The two largest individual gifts came to UH from donors living in Austin and Dallas, which reflects the growing prominence and impact of the university beyond the Houston region.
The fundraising success comes at a crucial time for the UHS and its four universities, which are all experiencing record or near-record enrollment this fall, despite a sharp decline in state funding over the past decade—a trend that is expected to continue in the next legislative session.
“It is paramount that the UH System continue to raise institutional funds through private giving,” said Stuhr. “Each year, an increasing amount of the system’s budget is supported by private giving. Houston is a can-do city and it wants a can-do university, so it’s up to us to raise the funds that are necessary to support student success, and that is exactly what these generous gifts do for the 8,000 students we graduate each year.”
Among the UHS components, UH was followed by UH-Downtown, which raised $1.1 million. UH-Clear Lake raised more than $725,000, and UH-Victoria received gifts totaling more than $450,000.