UVM Launches Campaign with Largest Gift in its History
Release Date: 10-04-2003
University is More Than Half Way to $250 Million Goal, President Says
The University of Vermont launched the public phase of its $250 million comprehensive campaign over the weekend with the announcement of the largest gift in its history, a $15 million commitment from Steve (UVM, 1961) and Beverly Rubenstein of New Vernon, N.J. and their family.
Thanks to the Rubenstein gift, the commitments of 25 other lead donors, and the contributions of many smaller benefactors, the university has raised $126 million toward its goal, UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel said at a Saturday press conference.
The campaign, only the second in the university’s history, began in the fall of 2001 and is scheduled to run through June 30, 2007.
The Rubenstein gift will be used to support study of the environment at UVM, one of three broad areas of strategic focus in the campaign. The campaign is also designed to foster excellence in the liberal arts and the life, health, and biomedical sciences.
Twenty-five percent of the Rubenstein gift will benefit environmental studies and environmental science broadly at the university with the remainder going specifically to the School of Natural Resources. The gift was made with the understanding that the school will be renamed the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, pending a recommendation by the Faculty Senate and approval by the Board of Trustees.
“The university will be eternally grateful to the Rubensteins for their extraordinary generosity,” said Fogel. “UVM is well on its way to becoming the nation’s pre-eminent environmental university. Steve and Beverly understand that to fully achieve that lofty distinction, we need the help of our friends. We could not be more appreciative of their support of the university’s priorities and of their remarkable and ongoing generosity.”
“We are pleased to be the first-ever named and endowed academic unit at UVM and honored that the Rubenstein name will be forever attached to our school," said Donald DeHayes, dean of the School of Natural Resources. "This gift will propel our school even further in the national spotlight of environmental and natural resource programs.”
Steve Rubenstein is president of Rubenstein Properties of Little Falls, N.J., a family company that has grown significantly since its creation in 1961. A charter member of the School of Natural Resources' board of advisors, Rubenstein has a strong interest in environmental stewardship.
Momentum despite a sluggish economy
The overall campaign’s success to date is all the more noteworthy given the sluggish economy and unstable international climate of the past few years, said Ian deGroot, vice president for development and alumni relations.
“Six months ago many of us in higher education witnessed a significant downturn in philanthropy, causing some institutions to delay or extend their campaigns,” he said. “Our early success is testimony to the commitment of our donors and the strong leadership of our president.”
deGroot said the university had originally planned to launch the public phase of the campaign in the spring of 2004, but was able to move the date up to this fall because such good progress had been made on reaching the goal.
Supporting the vision
The comprehensive campaign is designed to support many aspects of the vision for the University of Vermont that Fogel articulated in February 2003.
The campaign supports one of the central tenets of the Fogel vision – increasing the size of the undergraduate student body by 2,000 over the next 10 years while simultaneously boosting quality – by setting a goal of $105 million, its highest dollar amount, to boost financial aid for undergraduates. The funds will also support fellowships for graduate students
The campaign devotes its second highest dollar amount, $90 million, to another key element of the Fogel vision: the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty.
“This campaign puts its strongest emphasis on people, the students and faculty who are at the core of university life,” said Board of Trustees member Bruce Lisman, who also chairs the National Campaign Steering Committee.
“The top priorities are to develop a pool of scholarship dollars that will help attract the best and brightest students from around the world and to boost support of our talented faculty and enable us to recruit even more top scholars to our community,” he said.
Other campaign priorities, with target dollar goals, are as follows:
Rubenstein Gift a Key Element of Campaign’s Success
Fogel stressed that it is gifts like the Rubensteins’ that enable ambitious comprehensive campaigns to generate the traction they need to be successful.
“Every campaign needs a hallmark gift that not only helps an institution reach its goal, but also inspires others to give,” he said. “We are doubly grateful to the Rubensteins – for the gift itself and for the inspirational impact Steve and Beverly are having on others. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
UVM’s first campaign raised $108 million in the late 1980s and early 1990s.