The following is a guest post from Laurie Ann Ross, corporate and foundation gifts officer for the Office of Development.
UALR and I met in 1979 when I stepped foot on this campus as an incoming freshman. I wouldn’t call it a love affair at that time but little did I know that 30 years later I would return to work in the Office of Development and participate in the first ever comprehensive campaign for the university. That’s when the love affair started.
When I began my current position in 2006, I knew that the groundwork for a comprehensive campaign had been laid. It was the first campaign in the history of the university and I was going to be part of the team that was charged with getting us to our goal. There was lots of building to do, and I was excited, a little nervous, and very hopeful that we could do it. And do it, we did.
This campaign has been about relationships – relationships we had and those that we didn’t. We got out of our offices and met with business leaders and individuals sharing our vision for the future of central Arkansas’ metropolitan university. What was most surprising was that many didn’t know “what was going on at UALR,” so we told them. We told them about our nursing program, the best in the state. We told them about our music and opera program and organized opportunities for folks to hear our students sing. We told them about our vision for economic development with the creating of the new EIT building and new curriculum in engineering. And, we told them about our students.
Our students are why we are here. Without them, we would not exist. Nor would we have a reason to exist. And, we knew that our students needed the support of this campaign to help them in realizing their dream, the dream of a college education. That is why student support was such a large focus of our efforts. We raised scholarship dollars, added funds for academic program support, built new and renovated buildings, and we raised funds to support our world-class faculty.
But beyond all of the monies that we raised, is the satisfaction in knowing that my efforts really do make a difference. I have the wonderful pleasure of serving on a scholarship selection committee in the Department of Nursing. When a student is selected for a scholarship, lives are changed, theirs and mine. That is why we do what we do. They can see the future in front of them and I see how our work, through our donors, fulfills the passion in our students’ dreams. And that is what this campaign has been all about, making a difference in our students, our state, and our world.
Oh, and the love affair continues….