$300 million UMass fundraiser launched

By George Felder

Maria Uminski/Collegian File Photo

The University of Massachusetts announced Sunday that it is launching a new fundraising effort called “UMass Rising,” which is being billed as the “most ambitious fund-raising campaign ever,” according to a UMass press release.

The fundraiser, launched in conjunction with the University’s 150th anniversary celebrations, has set a goal of raising $300 million for the purpose of achieving “new heights as a leader in the Commonwealth’s and the nation’s innovation economy,” according to the release.

“With UMass Rising, we are redefining the future by focusing on innovation and impact in the way we teach students, conduct research, create a diverse and inclusive community and play a national role in fashioning a sustainable future,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in the release.

Subbaswamy, according to the release, said that an increase in donors will “help create a stronger philanthropic tradition for the years ahead.”

The release stated that $183 million of the projected $300 million has already been raised, bringing the fundraiser to about 60 percent of its goal. The campaign, according to the release, officially began in a “quiet phase” in January of 2010 and is set to continue through June of 2016. Of the money raised so far, $13 million will be allocated toward athletic facilities on campus..

According to the release, UMass rising is “designed to enhance excellence and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the University,” and there are five priorities concerning the allotment of the raised funds.

The first priority will be supported with $55 million “to create hundreds of merit and need-based scholarships,” as well as “graduate assistantships, study abroad and career assistance.”

The second priority of UMass rising is to “support first-class faculty by raising $54 million to recruit and retain excellent faculty and increase the number of endowed chairs and professorships,” according to the release.

Research and programs will be supported with $97 million, according to the release, which will “underwrite new and existing centers and institutes, research initiatives and technology programs.”

Support for the campus’ infrastructure and building facilities will come in the form of $54 million, according to the release, which will go toward creating new learning spaces and renovating old ones, including the Old Chapel. The release states that the renovation of the Old Chapel will restore it “to a central place in daily campus life.”

The final priority of UMass Rising is, according to the release, to “support the Annual Fund by raising $40 million to provide ongoing funding that sustains, expands, and enriches programs across campus.”

The campaign is being chaired by four UMass graduates: Douglas Berthiaume, who serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Waters Corp. in Milford; Robert Epstein, who serves as the president of Horizon Beverage Co.in Avon; David Fubini, who serves as the director at McKinsey & Company in Boston; and Eugene Isenberg, who serves as chairman emeritus of Nabors Industries Ltd. in Houston and is the namesake of the Isenberg School of Management.

Honorary co-chairs for the campaign include entertainer and educator Bill Cosby; attorney Ken Feinberg; former CEO of General Motors Jack Smith; and former chairman and CEO of General Electric Jack Welch, according to the release.

The University’s last fundraising campaign concluded in 2001, raising a total of $130 million, according to the release.


George Felder can be reached at [email protected]