By Ariel Serafin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
A celebration marking the end of a billion-dollar fundraising effort has been canceled because of the death of UA women's basketball center Shawntinice Polk.
The fundraising effort, "Campaign Arizona," which was the first in the state to raise more than $1 billion, began July 1, 1997, and ended in June, said Rodney Campbell, director of communication at the University of Arizona Foundation.
The effort exceeded its billion-dollar goal, and although the count of the donations is not complete, the final amount could be as large as $1.2 billion, according to a press release.
Four 25- to 30-minute celebrations were planned in various locations across the university this morning and afternoon to "bring the celebrations to the people," Campbell said.
The celebrations were to feature refreshments, souvenirs and speeches from guests such as President Peter Likins, Provost George Davis and UA Foundation President Richard F. Imwalle.
In light of Polk's sudden death, the foundation said it did not feel celebration was appropriate, and has cancelled the event indefinitely.
Likins wrote in an e-mail that although he recognized the importance of thanking students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors for their assistance in the campaign, he had greater priorities in this time of grieving.
"I know you understand that at this solemn time in our campus community, it is more appropriate to direct our energy toward managing our grief and cherishing together our memories of 'Polkey,'" Likins wrote.
Although the celebrations are not occurring, Campbell said, the fundraising directly benefits students in numerous other ways, although not equally, because certain departments of the UA received more funding from the effort than others.
"The truth of it is, most of the money is earmarked by donors," Campbell said, which means the donors specified which colleges or causes they wanted their donations to be used for.
Every college has received donations, albeit unequal, Campbell said.
Money raised is also being used to build or improve facilities, such as the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center and the Student Union Memorial Center.
The money will also provide scholarship funds for some students, Campbell said.