University breaks fundraising record for third straight year

Fundraising jumped more than $18 million from last year’s total.

Temple University has set a fundraising record for the third consecutive year with contributions reaching $84.2 million for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The university saw an increase of $18.4 million from last year’s total of $65.8 million, and received donations from more than 19,000 alumni.

Among those donations was $25 million from the estate of Lewis Katz. Katz, who was once the co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, died in a plane crash last May.

Other large contributions came from the Golden Owls, which is made up of Temple alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more and Lonnie and Sharon Moulder to endow the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research. Each group gave $4 million and $5 million, respectively.

President Neil D. Theobald said the record-breaking year in fundraising will significantly help current students.

“Donations to Temple support our groundbreaking research and instructional innovations, as well as open so many doors for our talented students,” he said. “The depth and breadth of generosity that our donors have shown is a reflection of their belief in our mission and the continued momentum of Temple University.”

Temple’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement James Dicker said the increase represented “nice momentum” and “progress,” but added that he envisions even higher numbers over the next several years.

“You can never fulfill my expectations,” Dicker said. “They’re too high.”

In five years, Dicker said he hopes Temple can raise $100 million.

He added that the trend toward increasing donations is important for two reasons.

First, it represents growing support for the university by the alumni, he said.

“It’s clearly a validation by the donators that we’re on the move,” Dicker said. “It’s one measurement of how the outside looks at us.”

Second, Dicker said it is an important source of revenue for the university.

Dicker, who was appointed by Temple to his current position in March of 2014, does not want to take all of the credit.

“Fundraising, record success takes a village,” he said.

He credited Theobald and the Board of Trustees for the work they have done in raising funds.

Dicker said the record-breaking donation from the estate of Lewis Katz was significant, but not a complete outlier compared to recent years.

“It’s a big factor in the numbers, but in any big year, you will always have large gifts,” he said.

The money will be divided into three broad categories according to Dicker. Some of the cash goes to the annual fund, meaning it will be spent during that year on faculty salary, student financial aid and similar areas. The endowment fund, which puts money in a large investment account, will also receive a cut of the contributions. Lastly, a portion of the donations will go to fund capital projects, like construction.

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at or on Twitter @JackTomczuk.

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