UTM 76 percent to goal in ‘Campaign for Tennessee’
Chancellor Tom Rakes announced that UT Martin has raised $30.5 million, or 76 percent of its $40 million goal, the largest goal attainment percentage of any UT campus or unit.
Also, UT Martin achieved 54 percent participation in its Family Campaign, the largest percentage of any UT campus. The Family Campaign included current, former and retired UT Martin employees.
“One thing that sets giving to UT Martin apart from giving to anywhere else is the ‘bang for the buck’ donors to Martin know they have,” UT President John Petersen said. “A $40 million goal is going to have a huge impact on this campus where gifts can make such a noticeable difference.”
“UT Martin has a number of exciting priorities that the Campaign for Tennessee will make realities,” Rakes said. “The campus emphasizes student and faculty enrichment, which benefits individuals well beyond the region.”
Additional areas of emphasis include student aid, faculty retention and development, international initiatives, an honors enrichment fund and increased research opportunities, all of which are critical to attracting and retaining top students and faculty to UT Martin. Specific goals also include expanding internship, leadership and service learning opportunities.
Rakes added, “Campus security, facilities expansion and beautification will continue to be vital components, as well.”
The UT Martin Capital Campaign Launch was complete with “coaching” by Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in college basketball history and a UT Martin alumna. Dr. Anne Meek, UT Martin Development Committee chair and daughter of Paul Meek, UT Martin’s first chancellor, and a UT Martin alumna, interviewed Petersen and Dr. Rakes spoke to the audience and fielded questions in an informal town-meeting setting.
“Known for real-world, experiential learning, UT Martin is taking its outstanding academic and athletic programs to new levels of distinction and national prominence,” Rakes said. “Increased emphasis is being placed on student access and success through off-campus centers, global studies opportunities and evolving online learning offerings.
“The university is collaborating with community, business and industry leaders to provide ‘capacity-building’ growth opportunities in areas such as agriculture, biofuels, health care, education, technology and the arts,” he added.
“While we are grateful and pleased with extraordinary leadership gifts given to date in the Campaign for Tennessee, there is still much work to be done,” said Len Solomons, vice chancellor for university advancement. “The ultimate success of this effort will depend upon the generosity and involvement of loyal alumni and friends throughout the region.
“As the university publicly launches the most ambitious fund-raising effort in UT and UT Martin’s history, every gift is important. During the next three years of the capital campaign, we will need larger numbers of gifts of varying sizes to reach our goal and ensure success,” she said.
The local launch also included members of the UT Martin Campaign Steering Committee, the UT Martin Development Committee, the UT Martin Alumni Council and major donors.
UT Martin’s Campaign chairs include honorary chairs Jim Ayers of Parsons; J. Houston Gordon of Covington and campaign co-chairs Dr. Lew Dougherty of Camden and Ray Smith of Huntingdon. These volunteer leaders have made major campaign commitments to the UT Martin Parsons Center, the Paul Meek Library and the American Democracy Project, the Honors Programs and faculty professorships, respectively.
Summitt concluded the program with personal reflections about her UT Martin years and the importance of the Campaign for Tennessee to the Martin campus. She described her college years at UT Martin as among the best years of her life.
“I have committed to giving back to UT Martin,” she said, challenging the crowd to do the same.
“Tonight, in this room, it’s time for all of us to step up,” she said. “ … Every gift counts. Every gift makes a difference.”
Published in The Messenger 5.12.08