In a year of impressive milestones, the University of Houston has - for the first time in its history - received more than $100 million in private support from businesses, corporations, alumni and friends in a single year. Accomplished in the throes of an economic downturn, the record was achieved on the strength of support from more than 25,000 donors to the university during that same period.
"We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming display of generosity of all of our donors and the Houston community, whose gifts are responsible for this record-breaking year," said UH President Renu Khator. "This is an exciting time for the University of Houston, and our expectation is to keep this positive momentum going over the next several years as we continue our progress toward Tier One status. The continued support of our donors will be vital to achieving that goal."
During the 2010 fiscal year UH received more than $102 million in private support, smashing the previous high of $87 million raised in 2000. Last year, private support totaled $73 million.
These donations support a variety of efforts across the university, but most fall into any one of three categories: research activities, scholarships and academic support. Examples of philanthropy in action at UH include:
- TierOne Scholarships - a distinguished, high-profile award program intended to attract highly qualified students to the University of Houston, demonstrating UH's commitment to keeping top talent in Houston and Texas
- Enhanced student experience - as outlined in a nine-point Strategic Plan for Student Success that includes building an exceptional living-learning experience; offering educational programs that offer students unique global, research and service-learning experiences; and instilling a culture of excellence in student support and services that promotes student success
- Cluster hires - an initiative to recruit new faculty in new and emerging academic disciplines that cross traditional departmental and college lines
- Support for key initiatives in energy, health and the arts - strengths of the university that will serve as pathways to achieving Tier One status
Every dollar raised is significant as UH pursues Tier One status, Khator said. The broad base of support UH now enjoys under her tenure - as evidenced by the jump from 19,000 donors to the university when she was hired in 2007 to the 25,000 now contributing - demonstrate that the Houston community is responding to her bold vision to attain Tier One status.
The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are the only public Tier One universities in Texas. Tier One designation as a nationally competitive research university would make UH eligible for millions of dollars in state funding. The designation would boost UH's efforts to compete with other states for the best and brightest students and faculty, spur economic growth, sustain an educated workforce and support innovative research.
"To achieve the vision of Tier One status, the continued loyalty and generosity of our donors are essential. This new standard for philanthropy at the University of Houston must be sustainable. That is our challenge if we are to fulfill our potential as an institution," Khator said.
The fundraising record, which includes an all-time high in alumni participation, is one of a series of recent milestones for UH. Others include:
- An enrollment record of 38,850
- a record for research expenditures of $99 million
- record-high enrollment in The Honors College
- the highest six-year graduation rate in its history
- the addition of four members of the National Academies of Science/Engineering to the faculty
- continued development of the Energy Research Park
- new student housing and remodeled dining facilities marking the continued evolution into a residential campus
"The University of Houston is making tremendous progress, and it's an exciting time to be a Cougar!" Khator said.