UC Davis Has Best Fundraising Year in History

Donor Eric Tschannen
Grateful patient Ernest E. Tschannen has donated a total of $38.5 million to support the UC Davis Eye Center and Center for Vision Science.

The University of California, Davis, today (July 28) announced having raised a record-breaking $226 million during the 2015-16 fiscal year, making it the largest donation total raised in a single fiscal year in UC Davis’ 108-year history.

“This year’s record-breaking fundraising success is a strong affirmation that our alumni, donors, parents and friends believe in UC Davis’ land-grant mission and our vision to be a global leader in addressing the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Acting Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter. “On behalf of the entire university, I would like to thank our alumni and donors for their steadfast support and for helping us realize this philanthropic milestone. These investments in our future will have tremendously positive benefits, in some cases transformational, for UC Davis faculty, staff, infrastructure, programs, and, most importantly, our students.”

The UC Davis Foundation endowment saw better-than-industry-average performance during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, at more than double the policy benchmark rate for a single year and above average performance for the one-, three-, five- and 10-year benchmarks, according to a recently released report from National Association of College and University Business Officers. Endowment growth means greater funding to the university, thereby providing greater financial support for the donor’s intent.

“UC Davis’ outstanding fundraising success will benefit students, faculty and staff for generations to come and also demonstrate what our donors already know: a donation to UC Davis has a remarkable return on investment at UC Davis,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of development and alumni relations. “Through partnership with UC Davis, our donors make a meaningful difference on their philanthropic passions, which is why we saw unmatched fundraising accomplishments this year.”

The makings of a record-breaking year

Newsworthy gifts from this year include:

  • Ernest E. Tschannen, a grateful patient of the UC Davis Health System, has contributed more than $38.5 million in total to UC Davis, making him the largest individual donor in UC Davis history. This year, UC Davis received $18.5 million from Tschannen to name the UC Davis Eye Center.
  • Alumni Michael Hurlston ’88, M.B.A. ’90, M.S. ’91, and Joelle Hurlston ’89 committed $1.5 million to establish a first-of-its-kind endowed chair position. The Michael and Joelle Hurlston Presidential Chair will rotate among the three colleges and schools from which the donors earned their degrees and will be matched with $500,000 by the UC Office of the President through the Endowed Faculty Leadership Initiative, bringing total funding for the Presidential Chair to $2 million.
  • The Koret Foundation granted $1 million to create Transfer STEP, a new program designed to facilitate community college student transition to UC Davis and other UC campuses through the provision of critical academic supports that increase their likelihood of completing an engineering degree in a timely manner. This program, which is part of a larger university initiative to increase student diversity in engineering, is a collaborative effort by the Office of Student Affairs, the College of Engineering and the Provost’s Office.
  • Wayne Thiebaud — the legendary painter known for his colorful paintings of landscapes, portraits and good-enough-to-eat desserts — is now the largest donor of art to date to the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, having donated 72 of his own works and more than 300 additional works by other artists.
  • The student philanthropy group We are Aggie Pride raised $110,000 for UC Davis students in nine months, thanks to a challenge from the UC Davis Foundation. Prior to this fundraising achievement, the group had raised $150,000 since its founding in 2011.

UC Davis alumni gave $22.8 million this year, of which $11 million went to student support, making alumni the top donor group to support UC Davis students. Among the university’s 10 colleges and schools and other units, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the UC Davis Health System raised the largest amounts: $75.6 million and $51.3 million, respectively.

“I am grateful to my fellow alumni as well as UC Davis parents and friends for their continued support of UC Davis, making the university’s vision a reality,” said UC Davis Foundation Chair Bruce Bell ’85. “With your generosity and partnership, UC Davis will adapt and strengthen as new needs and technologies arise, offering the best possible education to our students and continuing to lead the world through cutting-edge research.”

Private gifts and grants to UC Davis account for roughly 4 percent of the university’s overall budget. Donor-directed funds support students, faculty, staff, infrastructure, patient care, and universitywide priorities and opportunities.

Media Resources

Sarah Colwell, Development and Alumni Relations, 530-752-9842, sccolwell@ucdavis.edu

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