Arizona NOW, the University of Arizona's fundraising campaign, announced achievement of its $1.5 billion goal in November, but additional gifts and commitments counted through Dec. 31 brought the final campaign total to $1.59 billion.
The most ambitious and comprehensive fundraising campaign in UA history reached its goal within six years — nearly two years ahead of schedule. Arizona NOW's priorities focused on providing opportunities for students, supporting faculty and research, and investing in University outreach initiatives.
"This campaign is an above-and-beyond success, and I could not be more grateful to the University of Arizona community for its outpouring of support," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "Thanks to each and every donor who made a gift, Arizona NOW will shape the legacy of this great institution for generations to come."
Arizona NOW is the UA's third comprehensive fundraising campaign. Each exceeded its goal and concluded ahead of schedule. The Century II campaign, which ended in 1990, raised $100 million. Campaign Arizona brought in $1 billion over an eight-year period ending in 2005.
Those past efforts helped set the stage for Arizona NOW's success, said John-Paul Roczniak, vice president of development and chief development officer for the UA and president and CEO of the UA Foundation.
"I'm immensely proud to be part of a University family that steps up again and again. We are so fortunate that the desire to give is ingrained in so many whose lives have been touched by the UA — alumni, staff, patients and partners in ventures around the world," Roczniak said.
The campaign's enormous impact has been noticed by students, instructors and researchers across campus. Facilities such as the Ginny L. Clements Academic Center, which serves UA student-athletes at just a stone's throw from where they train and compete, is one example of what such generosity can do.
"We haven't even been in this facility (for long), and I spend 50 percent of my day here," said Claire Green, a member of the women's track and field and cross country teams. "Our tutors are right here. ... All the athletes are in here, and we get to work together. It has made studying a lot easier and more pleasant, and it's really paying off."
Dr. Andrew Craft, director of the UA Cancer Center, said the University's commitment to cutting-edge work would not be possible without such campaigns.
"Getting support at the early stage of research from government or other organizations is near to impossible," Craft said. "Donated funds make novel research by our investigators possible to continue and build upon."
Donors' financial support "helps us build the foundation to do the things needed to be a premier center for academic medicine in the country," said Dr. Joseph Bellal, associate professor of surgery and director of the International Research Fellowship Program.
No public university can maintain a competitive edge or remain financially healthy without significant private support, Roczniak said, and it's not just the multimillion-dollar gifts that make a profound difference.
"When Alexis Feder and Victoria Yatsenko were just middle-school students, they organized a dance performance at Saguaro High School and raised $3,400 for Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease research at the Steele Children's Research Center," Roczniak noted. "They are part of the next generation of philanthropists, and stories like that number in the thousands."
Arizona NOW was planned as an eight-year effort beginning in 2010. In 2014, the campaign launched publicly with nearly $860 million raised. Four out of the past six fiscal years have been record-setting and helped accelerate the campaign toward its goal. Roczniak said donations for the current fiscal year are on track to again break a record.
The UA Foundation hosted a campaign celebration recently at Arizona Stadium to thank donors who gave during Arizona NOW. More than 400,000 gifts and commitments came from supporters in all 50 states and 55 countries.
At the event, philanthropists Linda Lohse, James Wyant, Helen Wertheim and Ginny Clements spoke about their motivation to support the university. Campaign co-chairs Sarah Smallhouse and Jeff Stevens were recognized for their service.