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University of Colorado Announces $4 Billion Fundraising Campaign

January 18, 2019
University of Colorado President Bruce Benson, pictured in his office in 2014, said the $4 billion fundraising campaign announced Thursday could support any number of things, including scholarships, endowed chairs, research and buildings.

The University of Colorado on Thursday announced a $4 billion fundraising campaign, a figure that dwarfs previous campaigns.

“It’s just time to do it,” CU President Bruce Benson said. “Let’s get rolling.”

The university has already raised more than $2 billion in the quiet phase of the campaign, which has been ongoing since late 2013. University officials have now made the campaign public to hit the $4 billion mark, which could happen in the next three to five years, said CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue.

This campaign, called “Essential CU,” more than doubles its two most recent predecessors. The last campaign, ” Creating Futures ,” exceeded its $1.5 billion goal in 2013, and “Beyond Boundaries” exceeded its $1 billion goal in 2003, according to a CU news release.

Money from the Essential CU campaign will support academic, research and public service activities on the four campuses, according to the release. CU officials also hope the donations will support expanding student opportunities and access, enhancing research and discovery, attracting and retaining top faculty, and transforming health care.

Each one of the campuses will launch individual campaigns with goals tailored to campus specialties.

Benson said the money could support any number of things, including scholarships, endowed chairs, research and buildings.

“You’ve got to have the money to make that happen,” Benson said. “The state’s not going to be overloading us with money.”

He also wants to CU grow its endowment. CU’s endowment, currently about $1.3 billion, doesn’t compare to schools like the University of Michigan, with an endowment near $12 billion , he said. He also highlighted several of CU’s Pac-12 peers that outpace CU, including the University of Washington, which has an endowment that tops $3 billion .

“If you’re going to be in the big time, you’ve got to compete with people,” he said.

Benson has announced he will retire in July, so this campaign will outlast his tenure leading the university, but he hopes to leave the campaign in good shape for his successor. The search for his replacement is ongoing.

The CU system raised a record amount of money last fiscal year with more than $440 million in private donations, including $147.8 million raised by the Boulder campus, officials announced in August.

Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, cniedringhaus@dailycamera.com

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