The University of South Carolina announced a major new fundraising campaign Friday– the most ambitious in state history. USC revealed they have spent the past four years raising a half-billion dollars from alumni, donors, and corporations and hope to raise another half-billion for their capital campaign by 2015.
“The economy is tough, but the need is profound,” said school president Harris Pastides, who made the announcement for homecoming weekend, “I am confident of our ability to successfully meet this ambitious goal, which I would add is a goal that only approximately three dozen American universities have ever attempted.”
The university said it has quietly raised nearly $530 million since 2007. Pastides said there is usually a “silent phase” before a school announces a major capital campaign.
The school said the idea of “Carolina’s Promise” is to raise money for scholarships, expand faculty research, renovate and construct new buildings, as well as strengthen USC’s current $495 million endowment.
Pastides said the administration is careful not to get specific about what it wants to do because big donors often are looking for their money to go towards something specific. “I think very few people in this day and age give for… “good ole’ Carolina,” he said, “That’s not the way astute philanthropists operate.”
School officials are hoping that about $160 million of the money raised will go to athletics, which would mostly come out of donations to the Gamecock Club booster program. Another goal is $100 million for the Moore School of Business (with $70 million of that going towards “faculty development”).
Pastides said the school has been trying to expand at the same time its money from the state has been decreasing. That leaves two other options: raising tuition or seeking more donations. “We don’t want to do everything we need to do by raising tuition,” he said.
USC says it has raised record amounts of donations in the past four years (with increasingly higher totals each year). However, the school would have to do significantly better than its $110.4 million annual average from 2007-2010 to reach $1 billion by 2015.
David Seaton is running the campaign. Seaton is a USC graduate who is now the CEO of Fluor Corporation, a Texas engineering and construction company. “When you look at corporate America and what we want to do to participate in this, it’s somewhat self-serving,” Seaton said, “We have to have the talents. Therefore, the private sector will be a participant in this process.”
Pastides said USC has had one capital campaign in its past, which ended in 2002 and raised $506 million.