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'Campaign Arizona' aims to raise $500 million

By Erin Mahoney
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 1, 1999
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UA students have good reason to look forward to university improvement because of a new fundraising campaign that has a preliminary goal of $500 million.

Although Campaign Arizona - a private fundraising campaign that will be formally announced next fall - has yet to name a final goal, preliminary talks have hovered around $500 million, said Dana Wier, vice president for communication and public affairs at the University of Arizona Foundation, an alumni organization.

UA President Peter Likins said early rumors of a $1 billion goal are unsubstantiated, but $500 million is a realistic goal.

"Yes, we can raise that much, and probably more," Likins stated in an e-mail interview Monday. "I can't say how much more we will shoot for, but it will surely total less than a billion."

The UA is currently receiving gifts at the rate of $70 million per year, Likins said, and $500 million over the seven years of the campaign is a tentative goal based on those numbers.

A similar campaign launched in 1987 with a goal of $100 million netted $196 million by 1992, but Wier said it is improbable that Campaign Arizona will exceed its determined goal.

"As campaigns have evolved, the goal-setting has become more specific," Wier said. "The days of doubling the campaign ... are gone."

She added that the university's growth has prompted a higher financial aim.

"The institution has evolved (since 1987) and it's a new plane, a new playing field," Wier said. "The bar has been raised."

Likins said $500 million may seem like a large amount, but it is reasonable when compared to the revenue that passes through the university.

"Remember that we spend that much every year," he said.

Although it's still unclear which areas of UA will benefit from the campaign's funds, Wier said the committee will eventually develop overriding themes. "It's all interrelated," she said.

Struggling faculty salaries won't be helped by this campaign, but it could help support research and progress, Wier said.

"Campaign Arizona will not be about funds that are a state responsibility," she said. "This campaign will move the UA from the fine institution it is to more global prominence."

Likins agreed.

"We will raise a lot of gift money," he said. "But it won't make us feel wealthy or absolve the state Legislature of its responsibility to provide for the university."

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