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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Now looks to hit $1.5 billion benchmark ahead of schedule

Jesus Barrera

The UA’s largest fundraising campaign, Arizona Now, is close to reaching its $1.5 billion goal far before the expected finish date of 2018.

As of July 2016, the campaign had received $1.46 billion in donations, according to a university-wide email from UA President Ann Weaver Hart.

Arizona Now offers private donors the opportunity to give to specific projects/programs in three of the following areas: enhancing the student experience, funding faculty and researchers and expanding UA’s reach.

Barry Benson, senior vice president of university campaigns, communications and regional development, said the success of the campaign is owed to its donors, the biggest of whom have been around for decades.

“It boils down to the generosity of our donors and you can trace that back to their experience on campus either as a student or a parent or a visitor,” Benson said.

During the 2015 fiscal year, the University of Arizona Foundation received over $147.1 million in gifts and commitments for expanding UA’s reach, over $97.1 million for funding faculty and researchers and over $49.2 million for enhancing the student experience, according to its annual and endowment report.

Funds from the Arizona Now campaign have been used to finance the recent renovation of Old Main as well as the creation of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.

Other donations have been used to improve learning facilities, like the Karl and Stevie Eller Professional Development Center, and create scholarship opportunities for students.

Benson said many different scholarships have been created over the course of the campaign, he mentioned one in particular that was created by a recent College of Engineering graduate who went on to work for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Benson said the UA alumni created a scholarship in honor of his mentor who was killed in a car accident in Nigeria while attending her sister’s wedding. The alumni pledged $500 annually and his pledge was matched by both the College of Engineering and Goldman Sachs, creating a unique $1,500 scholarship opportunity.

Arizona Now has also impacted some researchers and faculty members by providing them with endowments.

Professor of pharmacology and toxicology and the head of pharmaceutical sciences, Nathan Cherrington, received one of the first 1885 Distinguished Scholars award from UA’s private donors in 2012. The $10,000 award was given to Cherrington to acknowledge his outstanding work and research involving the disease known as NASH or nonalchoholic steatohepatitis.

The disease affects the way people metabolize and eliminate drugs. When a person takes a “normal” dose of medication, the disease causes the drug to stay in the body longer, creating toxicity. Cherrington and his team were able to create a diagnostic test for NASH and they are now trying to use that test to tell when children are not able to take the normal dose of a drug.

While Cherrington receives his research funding from the National Institutes of Health, he was able to use his $10,000 award to help the students working in his lab pay their tuition.

“So I can’t use my federal grants to pay my students who are also on federal grants the rest of their tuition, so it gives me a little bit of freedom to use non-federal money to pay my students’ tuition differential,” Cherrington said.

Now that the campaign has almost reached its goal, Hart is discussing the future of the Arizona Now campaign along with UA Foundation and campus leaders.

Regardless of the decision on the Arizona Now campaign, UA will still need money from private donors.

“It’s evident that private philanthropy will play an increasing role in the university’s business model as we move forward,” Benson said. “There’s no way to get around that and that’s not just the UA or Arizona for that matter. In general, that’s all over the country.”

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