The University of Arkansas at Little Rock finished the 2018 fiscal year with $18 million in private gift support, surpassing its annual goal and making it the third-best year in the university’s fundraising history.
“One of our top priorities is to make a quality college education accessible and affordable in central Arkansas,” Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. “Private philanthropy is vital to providing this pathway to support student scholarships and experiential learning opportunities.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to our supporters who understand the value of a college degree and why supporting a university in Little Rock is good for everyone in central Arkansas and in the state.”
More than 7,400 individuals, corporations, and private foundations gave 24,642 gifts between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Twenty-nine new endowments, totalling nearly $1 million,were established during the 2018 fiscal year, bringing UA Little Rock’s total endowment to more than $78 million.
Among the gifts were nearly $1 million from Windgate Foundation to establish a professorship in applied art; $800,000 from Dr. Bruce Murphy, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Heart Hospital, to benefit students in the College of Education and Health Professions; and nearly $1 million to create a more affordable pathway to a law degree for Pulaski County residents and future law students who want to practice law in the county. The money is part of the charitable component left over in a $45 million cigarette settlement fund.
Private funding allowed for the creation of the Signature Research Experience Awards, a new program in 2017-18 that provided 79 students an opportunity to work with a faculty member on a research or creative works project. The program helps students gain knowledge and skills required to compete in a competitive workforce upon graduation.
Trojan Athletics posted a banner year with $4.3 million in gifts designated for student-athlete support. The university’s largest gift was a $1.4 million gift from Greg Hatcher, chief executive officer of The Hatcher Agency, to start a NCAA Division I wrestling program in the state.
“The growth of interest and support for the Little Rock Trojans continues to make a significant impact on our athletics program,” said Chasse Conque, director of athletics. “We are most grateful for the generous contributions of our loyal donors who believe in our vision to elevate Trojan Athletics to heights we have not seen before.”
The UA Little Rock Alumni Association also contributed to the university’s fundraising efforts. Its signature fundraiser – Taste of Little Rock – raised more than $130,000 for student scholarships. More than half of UA Little Rock employees also contributed through the university’s “All In” campus campaign.
Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Christian O’Neal said the university is well-positioned moving forward into its five-year comprehensive campaign.
“We exceeded our annual goal, and we have strong momentum as we begin our campaign,” he said. “Our community and supporters are driving us forward, and the best is yet to come as we anticipate publicly launching our capital campaign in Fall 2019.”
External constituents of UA Little Rock are also proud of the fundraising success in 2018.
“As students at our university continue to excel in academic success, it is paramount that we continue to partner with our alumni, friends, and organizations that are vital to the continued growth and success of UA Little Rock,” said Foundation Fund Board Chair Carlton Billingsley ’02. “I look forward to working with our board and the Advancement staff to continue to work together in achieving more for our university and the region as a whole.”
Alumni Board President Becky Blass ’73 and ’82 added, “The UA Little Rock alumni board is proud of its role in helping raise monies this fiscal year which directly benefit so many of our outstanding students. We plan to work even harder this next year in our fundraising mission for UA Little Rock.”