Campus & Community

ASCEND campaign raises $490 million

June 30, 2014, marked the end of the most successful fundraising effort in University of Denver history: ASCEND: The Campaign for the University of Denver. Each year of the eight-year campaign was among the University’s top 10 fundraising years, with the final year of ASCEND surpassing all previous annual fundraising totals.

During the record-breaking campaign, more than 47,000 alumni and friends of the University gave nearly $490 million in support of priorities across campus that will enhance the educational experience and strengthen the University for the long term. Alumni from 41 countries and all 50 states invested in the future of the University during ASCEND.

“The ASCEND campaign has made an impact on the very core of the University,” says Scott Lumpkin, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “By strengthening the student experience through scholarships, programs, and key facilities while more than doubling the University’s endowment to over $460 million, the campaign has laid the foundation for our University to capitalize on the opportunities that the coming decades will bring.”

Support for scholarships was a hallmark of the ASCEND campaign. Donors’ generosity created nearly 600 new scholarships and nearly doubled the number of endowed scholarships that had been established in the University’s previous 142 years. Increased support broadens the University’s ability to recruit the brightest students regardless of socioeconomic background. It also helps to narrow the need gap of the average student, making a DU education more attainable for many.

A significant catalyst in the effort to establish scholarships was a matching program created by the University in 2010. The scholarship matching program was met with great enthusiasm by alumni and friends of the University, resulting in more than $100 million in new scholarship support for deserving students of DU.

Other highlights of ASCEND include:

  •  The University raised more than $80 million in the final year of the campaign, the most successful fundraising year in University history.
  • Participation increased among alumni and friends, including more than 25,000 new donors.
  • Nearly 69,000 gifts of less than $100 each were received during the campaign, for a total of $3.6 million.
  • The University received more than 100 gifts of $1 million or greater during ASCEND, which is more million-dollar gifts than had been received in University history.
  • Bequest distributions and other planned gifts accounted for one-third of the campaign total, reflecting the foresight and planning of many alumni and friends.
  • The Faculty and Staff Campaign was re-established in 2012 and garnered an average 30% participation.
  • The Annual Fund’s highest fundraising year during ASCEND was 2014, with more than $6.3 million raised and more than 12,500 donors.

Anderson Academic Commons captured the attention of the University community, and it has become the hub of intellectual and social life on campus. Gifts of all sizes from more than 5,000 people made possible the innovative new library that offers extended learning opportunities and collaborations that are not typically associated with a traditional library. Read more about last year’s opening of the facility.

Anderson Academic Commons was one of the latest examples in the continued transformation of the University campus. During the campaign, new and updated facilities provided a varsity training center and practice fields for student athletes, a new home for Morgridge College of Education, student art studios, and a LEED Gold-rated residence hall, to name just a few. The
University’s next several years will bring a new international relations complex for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies as well as a new home for the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Throughout its eight-year run, the ASCEND campaign reached all facets of the University. While scholarships and Anderson Academic Commons were among the highest priorities, gifts during the campaign also benefited programs, endowed faculty funds, and numerous other priorities. Support for endowed chairs and professorships has helped the University recruit and retain top minds who will partner with students in the educational journey. Programmatic funding has enhanced the academic and research landscape for students, including innovative centers in international studies and in law, professorships in painting and in Italian culture, faculty and programs in education, programs in pre-med research and in finance, and numerous others.

“The campaign was about securing the resources to transform the lives of our students so they can be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Doug Scrivner, chair of the ASCEND campaign and chair of the Board of Trustees. “By all measures, we have succeeded, fostering an environment in which students can create lives of accomplishment, meaning and purpose.”

The University’s endowment more than doubled to exceed $460 million during ASCEND, a noteworthy milestone within the eight-year campaign. The endowment’s increase is due both to the generous gifts of donors and the careful stewardship of the University’s assets. Along with increasing alumni participation – evidence of community support of the University’s mission – a strong endowment indicates significant stability as the University anticipates the opportunities of the coming decades.

In reflecting on the ASCEND campaign, Chancellor Robert Coombe said, “This campaign represents a huge step forward for the University, establishing the foundation on which the University will build in the coming years – in research, scholarship, and creativity.”

To learn more about how ASCEND is transforming the University’s future, visit du.edu/ascend.

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