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Capital Campaign Goes Public as Silent Phase Shows Strong Support

October 26, 2008-Guido Gerig, Director for the new Center for Neuroimage Analysis at the University of Utah, is developing tools and techniques that may one day lead to improved treatment for children with autism as early as two years of age.

Brian McPherson, Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a member of the Energy and Geoscience Institute, is conducting studies to inject CO2 created by coal power plants thousands of feet underground to store it safely away from the atmosphere and slowing global warming.

Both of these groundbreaking initiatives are just two examples of how gifts to the University of Utah’s capital campaign are leading to better lives for the citizens of Utah. “A very strong motivation for my group is that our research may ultimately help families and improve the quality of life for children at risk for developmental and degenerative brain diseases,” says Gerig.

The University announced today the beginning of the “public phase” of the campaign. The theme is “together we reach.” Goals for the campaign were established by University of Utah President Michael K. Young in consultation with the university’s most loyal supporters and senior administrative officers. “The U’s comprehensive campaign and its theme represent more than a bold initiative to simply become bigger,” said President Young. “It empowers our students, researchers, and educators to reach for more than we could ever have imagined and realize the full potential of what this remarkable University can accomplish.”

The campaign’s ultimate fundraising goal is $1.2 billion. The University is well on its way to meeting that mark. So far, during the three and a half year silent phase the campaign has raised $557 million. University Vice President for Institutional Advancement Fred Esplin says the public phase will continue for an additional five years. “We realize these are tough economic times, but advocates for the University of Utah continue to show strong support for its mission. People realize that the research and ideas generated here will create jobs and a better life for everyone.”

History shows that economic downturns can slow increases, and occasionally cause brief decreases in giving to higher education, however a look back also shows campaign momentum can be maintained in the face of substantial variations in the volume of gift receipts. Data for 21 campaigns of $100 million or more that went public during the 2000-2002 economic downturn show that every one came in over goal by an average of 18 percent.

Funds raised through the capital campaign will help the University advance its strategic mission in five core areas:

Engaging Our Students

Gifts to fund additional scholarships and fellowships have an enormous impact on the University’s ability to attract the most gifted students and professionals, allowing them to fully engage as active members of our campus community and graduate from the University prepared to transform the world.

Elevating Our Research

Endowed chairs and professorships help bring some of the world’s most brilliant minds to the U and student research funds encourage collaboration with those master teachers, performers, and scientists. Through collaborations that cross disciplines and distances, the University has the potential to transform lives.

Expanding Our Global Outlook

The University’s students and faculty are members of a vast scholarly community that spans the planet. Gifts that enhance language study, international research, service, and study-abroad experiences give our students a deeper, and often transformational, understanding of their world.

Enhancing Our Learning Environment

Encouraging a vibrant campus community requires thinking not only about people and programs, but about the places where their interactions take place. Gifts that fund facilities allow the creation of dramatic new spaces that will encourage interaction and collaboration, transforming the campus.

Enriching Our Community

The University plays many roles in improving the lives of our citizens and the economic well-being of our state. Gifts that support the arts, the libraries, the museums and Red Butte Garden, athletic programs, public broadcasting, service learning programs, and our health-care programs and facilities transform lives.

The University of Utah receives 11 percent of its operating funds from the state legislature. The remainder is generated through gifts, auxiliary operations, sponsored research, and federal grants. Public contributions to the capital campaign can be made by logging onto or calling 801-581-3720.