* Could the U of I do better? Sure. But they wouldn’t have to raise so much money if the state was a reliable partner…
“The University of Illinois has an extraordinary alumni network,” Rauner recently told Crain’s editorial board. “Only one of them, oh, actually two, have given any material amount of money to the university, and (it has) dozens of half-a-billion to billion to multi- to decca-billionaires. Most of them have never given a nickel. Why not? The U of I is atrocious at fundraising. They treated their alumni shabbily.”
Nonetheless, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign landed its largest gift ever this year, receiving $150 million from Chicago private-equity pro and alum Larry Gies, who donated to the school’s College of Business. And the system’s foundation, which raises funds across the university’s three campuses, Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield, reported a record $499 million for this year.
While Gies as well as big-name alumni such as Chicago venture capitalist Steve Miller and Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Tom Siebel have given hundreds of millions of dollars to UIUC, there are others who have been lower-profile in their philanthropy, if not absent. Only 6.9 percent of the university’s alumni contributed to the school last year, compared with about 7.8 percent nationally for all institutions and 7.2 percent for public research institutions, like UIUC, according to the Council for Aid to Education. Also, U of I system’s $2.73 billion endowment across the three campuses is paltry compared to those of prestigious private schools, and even some public ones. […]
Public universities are increasingly focused on private donations as state funding declines. Illinois schools are particularly keen on it after a depletion of reserves during a recent two-year budget impasse that underscored the cash-strapped state’s unreliable support. Illinois allocated $600.5 million to the university system’s $6.8 billion budget this year for a record 85,600 students, including the biggest population, 49,340, at the system’s most prestigious campus, Urbana-Champaign. […]
“We are going flat-out on our overall fundraising efforts here,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen says. The system has raised more than half of its $3.1 billion goal.
…Adding… Let’s add a bona fide screwup to this post…
Former SIU System President Randy Dunn’s lack of action on a key funding request may have hindered Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s recruitment efforts in his final months on the job, according to documents obtained by The Southern Illinoisan via a Freedom of Information Act request.
E-mails between top administrators show that Dunn declined to give final approval on $499,000 in recruitment spending at SIUC for more than two months this summer, setting back crucial and time-sensitive recruitment initiatives. Per SIU protocol, any expenditure over $100,000 must be approved by the system president.
The money was requested to purchase the names and contact information of students who took the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests. The name buys are standard practice at four-year universities, and are “critical” to new-student recruitment, said Jennifer DeHaemers, SIUC’s associate chancellor for enrollment management. […]
“When we can’t spend the money to purchase names, it slows our recruiting down,” DeHaemers said. “Other schools beat you in getting their information in front of students, which makes us play catch-up.”