When big birthdays roll around, presents are given and unwrapped. For Temple’s 125th birthday, the presents total more than $300 million.
As part of the university’s 125th anniversary, the $350 million Access to Excellence fundraising campaign is Temple’s most ambitious initiative.
The most recent figure shows the fundraiser has raised nearly $327 million.
“The sizes of donations vary, of course,” said Jennifer Trautwein, associate vice president for the fundraising campaign. “Thousands of people give $10, $25 or $100, and thousands more give $1,000 or more. There are also those who have made very special gifts in the six-, seven- and eight-figure range. Each and every gift is needed and counts toward our goal of $350 million.”
Access to Excellence officially began July 1, 2002, but the public phase of the campaign did not launch until Oct. 5, 2007. Temple has until the end of this year to reach the target money total.
Trautwein said almost 50 percent of the gifts received come from alumni. An additional 27 percent are gifts from foundations, and 12 percent are willed to the university.
Dr. Johanna DeStefano made a contribution to Temple’s goal: $1 million.
The donation to the School of Communications and Theater is the largest ever made by a woman. DeStefano has established the Johanna S. and Ralph V. DeStefano Endowed Fund for Media Policy in honor of her late husband, who was a Temple alumnus. The fund supports research pertaining to First Amendment rights and social change.
All the money from Access to Excellence is going toward six priority areas: support for students, faculty, facilities, research, community programs and university-wide projects.
Support for students will include financial aid packages, scholarships and fellowships.
According to the Access to Excellence Web site, “more than 70 percent of Temple’s full-time undergraduates have documented need, versus 50 percent at Penn State and University of Pittsburgh.”
The average Temple undergrad graduates with more than $27,300 in debt, which is $10,000 more than Pitt students, whose average debt is $17,051.
Temple also wants to expand its faculty, especially endowed professors for which the university has relatively few. Temple has 35 endowed professors in comparison to Penn State’s 300.
Temple’s initiative to provide new learning environments is already underway. The newly built Tyler School of Art and Alter Hall are among the many construction projects taking place at Temple. The renovation of the Baptist Temple and the construction at the Health Sciences Center are currently in progress.
Temple is hoping the fundraiser will attract renowned researchers to the university to foster further funding for research.
Support for communities surrounding Temple will be provided by the Temple University Health System, community service by students and faculty and employment availability. Access to Excellence listed a workforce of more than 13,000 employees, the third largest in the city.
Money will be allotted to each of the university’s schools and colleges for future plans and programs.
With thousands of Americans out of work, Trautwein said the state of the economy will have an impact on donations, but the effects will not be known until June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
For now, Temple has a few more months to earn $23 million.
Michelle Provencher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.