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News Release


UAlbany Announces $500 Million Fundraising Campaign Goal
Largest Campaign in the History of the State University of New York

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4989

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 22, 2003) -- The University at Albany announced today, at a black tie dinner held at UAlbany's Recreation and Convocation Center, the largest fundraising campaign ever in the history of the State University of New York. The campaign seeks to raise $500 million in private funds by June 30, 2008, with the goal of placing the University among the top 30 public research universities in the country.

We hold for this university a vision…a bold vision, " said UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock. "We intend to rank among the nation's 30 top public research universities by the end of this decade. This campaign is a measure of our ability to fulfill with excellence our historic mission: addressing the critical issues of a changing society and enriching lives. The rapidly evolving society in which we live has a profound impact on the knowledge and skills a UAlbany student possesses and on the research direction of our faculty. It is essential that the University build on its tradition and strengths to meet these changing needs."

"UAlbany's campaign will help to significantly solidify and strengthen its stature as a member of the great public universities in the world," said Robert King, Chancellor of the State University of New York. The State University of New York commends UAlbany for undertaking such an ambitious campaign -- an unprecedented campaign -- that exceeds any goal within the State University system. Such an accomplishment will secure for all New Yorkers and the nation an acclaimed university -- the kind of university that the people of this state and nation deserve."

Bold. Vision. The Campaign for the University at Albany” will benefit the three UAlbany campuses, nine professional schools and colleges, 600-plus faculty members, and 17,000 undergraduates and graduate students. It will strengthen UAlbany’s endowment, increase undergraduate merit scholarships and endowed graduate fellowships, establish endowed chairs and professorships, upgrade aging facilities, and help in the construction and furnishing of new buildings. At $500 million, the benchmark is nearly tenfold greater than the University’s $55-million campaign of the early 1990s, and will require record levels of investment by alumni, parents, friends, foundations, corporations and others.

It’s an extraordinarily ambitious campaign, but the University itself is ambitious, said George Hearst III, president of The University at Albany Foundation Board of Directors and associate publisher of the Albany Times Union. “The case for the campaign for UAlbany is the case for public higher education in America. It is the American dream made manifest. This University is on an incredible upward curve in terms of the excellence and expanding breadth of its academic programs. The challenges to higher education -- to helping fulfill this dream -- have never been greater. Meeting these challenges requires vision, courage and boldness. And it requires that those who share our belief in this mission help support and sustain it," said Hearst.

Numerous donors have already shown support for the University’s campaign goals during the “silent phase” of the campaign, which began on July 1, 1998. To date, $272 million has been committed against the half-billion dollar mark through the support of such companies as IBM, GE and Pfizer; foundations like Hartford, Hearst and Avon; and individuals including Thomas and Constance D’Ambra, Marty Silverman and the late Carla Delray.

Last year, 20 percent of the University’s $284 million operating budget came from state appropriations, excluding debt service and employee benefits. Only one dollar in every five comes from taxpayers. "The need for outside support is evident," added Hearst. “Clearly, to become better, the University must rely more and more on private support.

An important goal of the UAlbany campaign is to build its endowment. About $51.3 million of the fund-raising effort are targeted for the fund, now at $13.4 million.

Historically, endowments have been important to building public universities because they provide a reliable source of flexible funds.

Other campaign priorities include a new $25-million building for the University’s School of Business, and the Life Sciences Research Initiative with a goal of $20 million. The new Business Education Center would provide a state-of-the-art facility for the highly regarded business program. The cornerstone of the Life Sciences Research Initiative is a $78 million life sciences building now rising on the main campus. While the State is paying for the building construction, the University is seeking $8 million in private support to furnish and equip it and another $12 million to recruit and support research teams that will work there. Thomas D’Ambra, who chairs the Life Sciences Research Initiative, and his wife Connie have made a $1 million challenge grant to launch that fund-raising effort.

"If you think small, you’ll always be small. If you think big, you’ll have a shot. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know,” said D’Ambra, a member of the University’s Campaign Development Committee and chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI).

Two of the largest gifts received to date reflect UAlbany’s international strength in nanosciences and nanoengineering, an area of explosive development in the last two years. In April of 2001, IBM donated $100 million in funds and equipment to establish the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, representing the largest gift in UAlbany history and the single largest donation ever by IBM. A year later, SEMATECH, a consortium of leading computer chip manufacturers, announced an initial investment of $193 million to establish a research and development facility at the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics of which $100 million is a gift to the University.

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges.

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