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UNCG drive ahead of schedule

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By Todd Cohen 

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Propelled by individual giving, including its biggest alumni gift ever, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has raised over $46.2 million in the just-ended quiet phase of a five-year $78.2 million capital campaign that began in July 2004.

The campaign, the first half of a larger 10-year effort, now is on track to exceed $100 million by its conclusion in June 2009, says Patti Stewart, vice chancellor for university advancement.

And under optimistic projections, she says, the 10-year effort now could total $200 million, an increase of more than one-third from its initial goal of $142 million.

Any increase in that 10-year goal would result from a new assessment of its needs that the school would conduct once it completes the first half of the 10-year effort, Stewart says.

The campaign so far has relied mainly on giving by individuals, including alumni and friends.

The biggest gift to the campaign has been $4 million from Rebecca A. Lloyd of San Diego, Calif., a 1950 graduate.

The campaign has helped boost annual giving and the share of alumni who give each year.

The school aims to raise $1.5 million from annual giving in the fiscal year that ends June 30, roughly double the annual-giving total when quiet phase began.

And UNCG now gets annual contributions from 19 percent of its 85,000 alumni, up from 15 percent when the quiet phase began.

The campaign’s initial focus on individuals has been intentional, based on a feasibility study three years ago that recommended the school wait to solicit corporate support because of cutbacks by local industry and uncertainty about the economy, Stewart says.

Now, with a $1.5 million gift from Wachovia and requests submitted to other banks, the school has kicked off the corporate part of its campaign.

Co-chairs of the corporate effort are Norman Samet, chairman of Samet Construction, and Linda Carlisle, an alumna and retired business owner.

The overall campaign, co-chaired by Carlisle, Samet and his wife, Sylvia, generated $22.3 million in cash gifts, $6.4 million in pledges and $17.8 million in planned gifts through 2005.

With enrollment projected to grow to 20,400 by 2015 from 15,560 last fall, students will benefit from three-fourths of the funds raised in the five-year “Students First” campaign, which aims to increase UNCG’s endowment to $200 million.

Through last Dec. 31, the endowment grew to $142.7 million from $128 million on June 30, 2004.

And the school’s 10-year plan calls for the endowment to grow to $250 million to $275 million in 2015.

UNCG also is kicking off its campus drive to raise money from faculty and staff.

Nancy Vacc, a retired education professor at UNCG, has given $500,000 to build the school’s new belltower, named for her late husband, Nicholas, who also was an education professor at the school.

Stewart says the campaign expects to have raised more than $55 million by June.

While fundraising in the quiet phase focused on “leadership” gifts of $250,000 and up, she says, it now will focus on increasing the role of volunteers, particularly those working with the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and six professional schools, to solicit smaller gifts from individuals.

“Our challenge,” she says, “is to keep the momentum going, and also to engage our volunteers more fully.”

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