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University of Alabama celebrates historic fundraising year


The University of Alabama set another fundraising record for gifts and pledges received, raising $224.3 million from more than 62,300 donors during the fiscal year that concluded Sept. 30.

The University shattered the previous record by almost $104 million, representing an increase in giving of about 86 percent.

“We are tremendously thankful for the devotion of our alumni and friends who have helped us reach such a historic milestone,” said President Stuart R. Bell. “The 2017-18 fiscal year was truly remarkable and has created a strong foundation for the growth and development of current and future projects and programs at the Capstone.”

The 2017-18 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2017, made history with cornerstone gifts from Hugh Culverhouse Jr. and UA alumni Marillyn and James Hewson.

The University of Alabama School of Law announced in September a $25 million gift commitment from Culverhouse, a prominent business executive and attorney. To honor Culverhouse’s impact and generosity, the UA School of Law now bears his name as the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law.

The naming recognizes the $25 million gift, the largest commitment in the university’s 187-year history, as well as a $1.5 million gift made in 2017 to establish the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. Endowed Chair in Constitutional Law, which serves as a foundation for an expanded program in constitutional studies.

Announced in July, a $15 million gift from the Hewsons supports the next stage of growth at the Culverhouse College of Business, where Marillyn Hewson earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in economics, and James Hewson earned a bachelor’s degree in communications.

In September, the Culverhouse College of Business announced a $30 million fundraising campaign for the construction of a building to be named Hewson Hall in recognition of the campaign’s lead gift from the Hewsons, which is the largest one-time gift in the history of the university.

The fiscal year also saw the launch of The Crimson Standard in August. Announced by the University of Alabama Department of Athletics, The Crimson Standard is a 10-year, $600 million capital initiative designed to improve athletic facilities and comprehensively elevate the student-athlete experience, recruiting efforts and the overall game-day experience for Crimson Tide fans. The fundraising success of UA Athletics contributed greatly to the $224.3 million record.

Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban joins other officials to announce The Crimson Standard fundraising campaign for University of Alabama Athletics. (Kent Gidley/University of Alabama Athletics)

The historic year breaks the previous record of $120.7 million, which was set last year. Donors provided almost $32 million for scholarships, $99 million in faculty and program support and more than $93 million for building projects. The total includes deferred and athletic gifts given since Jan. 1, 2018, reported at 100 percent face value.

“The enthusiasm surrounding the accomplishments of the university, as well as this institution’s commitment to excellence, has contributed greatly to increases in our fundraising efforts,” said Bob Pierce, vice president for advancement. “President Bell’s vision for the university and attention to fundraising has inspired new donors and re-energized current supporters.”

The year also introduced the inaugural Bama Blitz, UA’s first day-of-giving fundraising campaign, which raised more than $1.8 million for projects in all academic units and provided alumni, parents and donors with a new way to support the Capstone.

“The greatest success of Bama Blitz is the students who will be impacted through the incredible amount of donations from the UA family,” said Mary Lawhorn, director of annual giving.

The Crimson Standard fundraising initiative, ongoing efforts to raise $15 million for a new Performing Arts Academic Center, $2.1 million for the Blackburn Institute and other initiatives are helping set the stage for an eventful 2018-19 fiscal year.

“I believe we are in the early stages of an era of incredible growth in charitable giving at the Capstone, and we encourage all UA alumni to participate,” said Pierce. “We are obviously thrilled and grateful for the transformative gifts made to the Law School by Hugh Culverhouse and to the Culverhouse College of Business by Marillyn and James Hewson. However, we are also excited by the sheer number of donors this past year.

“Every one of those 62,300 gifts is important and makes an impact in its own way,” Pierce said. “The generous support we have received from our UA family is a strong vote of confidence in our commitment to providing a premier education to our students and impacting our state, nation and world.”

This story via Alabama NewsCenter.

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