USC says funding needed most for faculty, buildings
But while the university is more than halfway toward its overall goal, the Carolina's Promise campaign has a long way to go in two specific, key areas — faculty and buildings.
The campaign, which began in July 2007, has already raised $116.2 million toward its goal of $156.6 million for student scholarships. It has also gathered $319.2 million toward its goal of $355.2 million for program enhancement, an area that encompasses research and other activities.
But — donors, listen up — USC has only raised $13.7 million toward its goal of $200.8 million for faculty and only $49.4 million toward its goal of $287.5 million for new buildings and renovations. The campaign will end in 2015.
"We have a lot of work to do there; we still have a lot of fundraising to do," said Michelle Dodenhoff, vice president for development and alumni relations. "It may be that [student support and program enhancement] were the emphasis and we have to move toward these other areas."
Dodenhoff stressed that specific area goals were flexible, and said the university will have to do a little "recalibration and analysis" at the end of the year. Private donors, as they should, have discretion over where their money goes and when it leaves their hands, and some of the money will only be available upon the deaths of donors or over a period of several years.
"I think one of the biggest challenges in fundraising is trying to balance the institution's needs with the donors' passions," Dodenhoff said.
The areas of building and faculty are in particular need of donor support, considering recent state budget cuts to higher education. USC has more than $593 million in needed renovations, and while the state gave the university $11 million for renovations this year and $1.4 million in fiscal year 2006, the General Assembly hasn't doled out for new building projects in more than a decade.
The largest specific fundraising goals for buildings include $20 million toward the new law school, $40 million toward the Arnold School of Public Health's new building and $75 million toward an alumni center. Dodenhoff said USC is the only university in the Southeastern Conference without such a center.
"I would love to have the campaign celebration in 2015 in that building," Dodenhoff said.
As for faculty, when the economic downturn hit in 2007 — the same year the university launched its capital campaign — many members were fired, and many professorship positions remain unfilled. USC's student–faculty ratio has swelled to 19-to-1. A portion of the funds raised by the campaign will go toward hiring new faculty, but another part, college deans say, will go toward paying current faculty more through endowed professorships and chairs that will hopefully prevent them from leaving for other universities.
The Moore School of Business has the largest goal of any one college at $100 million. About $70 million of that is for faculty alone. Dean Hildy Teegen said that money is needed for new faculty, extra compensation through endowed chairs and professorships and better research and teaching. She said she couldn't tell what portion of the money would go toward those separate needs, since private donors frequently specify where they want their money to go.
"We recognize that we would definitely like to grow our faculty in business," Teegen said. "Our student population has grown significantly over the past decade, and we'd like our faculty population to grow alongside that."
The university is also seeking $160 million for athletics, a fundraising goal larger than any of its academic arms. Part of that money will go toward the new baseball stadium, particularly by putting a donor's name on it. Officials don't seem to think there will be a problem funding a new home for a team that has won back-to-back College World Series championships.
"You would think that, with the success of the team, there would be people who would like to be associated with that particular commodity," President Harris Pastides said.
As part of its Focus Carolina strategic plan, the university has also identified six "initiatives" where donors can invest their money: the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, Rule of Law, Sustainable Energy, Health Sciences, P-20 Education and Leadership. USC has set a goal of $73.2 million for these initiatives alone, and some donations for other colleges will also support them.
Anthony Ambler, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, said part of his college's overall goal of $63 million would fund professors' teaching facets of aerospace engineering.
"Aerospace overlaps with materials, it overlaps with electrical engineering and electronics, it overlaps with chemical engineering, so I suppose if you look at it from that perspective, a significant chunk of what we're doing will have an aerospace-related connection," Ambler said. "What we're doing with aerospace can and will be directly applicable to a range of different industries."
Dodenhoff said all of the fundraising goals were based on historical fundraising and institutional needs.
"If we put down everything everyone wanted, we could be in a $20 billion campaign," Dodenhoff said.