Fundraising options considered by university administration

Officials from Butler University’s Office of Annual Giving said they are looking forward to working with President Jim Danko in his vision to aggressively fundraise for the university.

“We’re really excited about the direction that President Danko is taking with fundraising,” said Lee Vriesman, senior director of annual giving.

The university’s endowment currently sits at $150 million, but is projected to rise to $175 million by 2014, Vice President for Finance Bruce Arick said at a town hall meeting last week.

“I’ve never been at an institution so tuition-dependent,” Danko said at the meeting. “It’s like we’re waiting to hear whether or not that last student is coming so we can decide what we can do.”

Danko said that only about 25 percent of the university’s 43,000 living alumni give back to the university.

Vriesman said she understands that number to be higher than  the rates at most universities that Butler looks to for comparison.

“We’re pleased with that, but there’s always room for improvement,” Vriesman said.

Specific plans to increase or adjust giving programs are still in the works.

“There are many, many ways for alumni to give through the university, and we’ll just be looking at all of those and figuring out where the opportunities need to be increased,” Vriesman said.

Alumni participation can affect how prospective students view the university, since they are included in national rankings like U.S. News and World Report, where Butler was ranked No. 2 last year in the Regional Universities Midwest category of America’s Best Colleges.

Chris Beaman, senior class president, said that the class of 2012 is encouraging undergraduate participation in the Ovid Butler Society, one of Butler’s giving groups.

“My gift to Butler signifies how appreciative I am for the changes it has made in my life,” Beaman said, “and the belief that I am placing in Butler to provide more students with that along the way.”

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