UArizona Announces $118.65 Million in Gifts Toward $3 Billion Campaign

The Fuel Wonder campaign began counting contributions on Jan. 1, 2017, and was officially launched today. The campaign has so far raised more than $2 billion.

University of Arizona Foundation

The University of Arizona announced today the public phase of its $3 billion fundraising campaign, Fuel Wonder. The launch, coinciding with Homecoming celebrations, included the announcement of $118.65 million in gifts that will ignite the aspirations and goals of students, faculty and staff. Collectively, these gifts bring the overall total raised so far to $2,040,735,512.

“I am incredibly grateful to the thousands of donors who have contributed to our future through the Fuel Wonder campaign,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “It is especially meaningful to announce this campaign during Homecoming weekend, a time when we invite alumni back to campus to reunite with the extended Wildcat community. I am so proud of how the work of our students, faculty and staff inspire alumni and friends to give back so generously.”

Counting toward the campaign goal began Jan. 1, 2017. Robbins became the university president in July of the same year. He immediately initiated a strategic planning process to guide the university’s future. The fundraising priorities of Fuel Wonder align with the strategic plan and seek to bolster student success, faculty innovation and community involvement through athletics, arts and public media.

“Every gift we have received since Jan. 1, 2017, is part of Fuel Wonder,” said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. “You can see from the gifts we are announcing the range of causes that are meaningful to our alumni and friends. And, although we are announcing some large gifts today, the ongoing charitable support of annual donors has a huge impact on campus programs as well. I am grateful to all of them, and proud to share the breadth of impact philanthropy has at this great institution.”

Philanthropic successes to date include the naming of three colleges: the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, the W.A. Franke Honors College and the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy. Three capital projects have moved forward thanks to donor investment: the Student Success District, the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and the William M. “Bill” Clements Golf Center. Also, a significant contribution from the Steele Foundation, led by Marianne Cracchiolo Mago, marked the first philanthropic support for the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, known as CAMI.

The generosity of alumni and friends has also resulted in the six highest endowment giving years in the university’s history, by a wide margin. A six-year total of $423.7 million accounts for 35% of the total endowment under management as of June 30. The university’s endowment is valued at $1.2 billion, and gifts given to it support the donors’ chosen priority areas in perpetuity.

During the campaign’s public launch event, co-chairs Cracchiolo Mago, Class of 1993, and Terry Lundgren, Class of 1975, joined Robbins and Roczniak to announce gifts from the Baird Foundation, Patricia and Bruce BartlettJim and Vicki ClickJohn L. ComptonMichael and Sheri HummelEllen KayeMona Kreaden and Paul LiptonHumberto and Czarina LopezJohn and Adrienne Mars, the Waverley Street FoundationTucson Foundationsand several donors who asked that their giving remain anonymous.

“‘Fuel Wonder’ means philanthropy is our fuel: That’s the fuel that’s going to help us reach beyond into the universe,” Robbins said at the event. “I’m confident we’ll exceed the $3 billion mark because we have so many great stories and things that will get people excited about giving. I’m so inspired by all the stories we’ve heard today. Every day I walk around this campus, I find something new that inspires me.”

Fueling the Wildcat Journey

Scholarships and student success, part of the Wildcat Journey pillar of the university’s strategic plan, are among the campaign’s top priorities. New gifts totaling $27.35 million were announced at today’s launch.

  • Patricia and Bruce Bartlett, former educators and longtime university supporters, are among the most generous donors to the university, including multiple commitments during the Fuel Wonder campaign. A recent $2.5 million gift to the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center has endowed the center’s executive director position and will further the work of Bartlett Labs – a multidisciplinary research initiative.
  • The Baird Foundation has donated $5.7 million to create the Baird Scholars Fund. The foundation has supported University of Arizona students for decades, giving over $15 million cumulatively. These scholarships are granted to six outstanding students from Arizona high schools, supporting them throughout their four-year academic journey. The university hopes to grow the impact of the Baird Scholars Fund through annual fundraising toward this endowment.
  • Jim and Vicki Click, longtime supporters and champions of the UArizona Adaptive Athletics Program, have committed a $6.5 million gift, adding to their previous investments in the program. This gift will allow the program to recruit elite athletes well into the future.
  • John Lee Compton has committed $3.2 million to benefit students in the W.A. Franke Honors College. The gift from Compton, a biotech industry executive, will establish the Compton Lab of Discovery and Innovation, Endowed Compton Chair for Creative Intelligence and Innovation, and the Compton Fund for Exploration. A longtime volunteer who has worked with many honors students on their research projects, Compton is an advocate for creative inquiry and aims to create a safety net for students who want to take informed risks with their projects.
  • John and Adrienne Mars have given to benefit both students and research at the university. A $2 million gift to the College of Science supports scholarships and exploration of research, majors and careers for first-year students. They have long been involved with the College of Science.
  • Wildcat family that asked not to be named has contributed $7.45 million for two student-centered efforts. A total of $1.5 million will support Destination Arizona – a university initiative designed to warmly welcome all new students to campus before the commencement of classes while fostering inclusivity and a sense of community among Wildcats. A gift of $5.95 million supports Arizona Athletics, specifically aiding the 5980 Fund and C.A.T.S. Academics

Fueling knowledge discovery and teaching

Students want to learn from the best in the field and be part of a university at the forefront of research across disciplines. Funding for endowed faculty positions that help recruitment and retention efforts are a key campaign priority. Gifts totaling $36.5 million were announced today.

  • Alumni Michael and Sheri Hummel, both Class of 1982, have committed $5 million to benefit the Cancer Engineering Initiative, a program being jointly implemented at the College of Engineering and the University of Arizona Cancer Center. The initiative aims to create humanlike cancer models and growth environments to help improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Their gift also supports gynecological cancer research at the College of Medicine – Tucson.
  • Humberto and Czarina Lopez have contributed $18 million across multiple university causes during the Fuel Wonder campaign. Humberto Lopez is a member of the Eller College of Management Class of 1969. The Lopezes’ most recent gifts, including $9 million to the Eller College to name the HS Lopez School of Business Analytics, will enhance business analytics education through faculty and research endowments, and a program endowment. They also committed $8 million to the College of Medicine – Tucson, with one of their gifts establishing the Iovanna C. Lopez Endowed Deanship, named in honor of their daughter.
  • In addition to their support of students at the College of Science, John and Adrienne Mars have designated another $2 million gift to benefit agrivoltaics research at Biosphere 2. Agrivoltaics is the concept of co-locating agriculture with solar panels as a potential solution to challenges around food, energy and water.
  • The Waverley Street Foundation, which aims to advance climate solutions grounded in the day-to-day lives of people and communities, has made a $2 million gift for the Indigenous Resilience Center, housed under the university’s Research, Innovation & Impact office and headed by professor Karletta Chief (who is Diné, or Navajo).
  • Wildcat family wishing to remain anonymous has committed $6 million to the Eller College of Management and its Department of Finance. The gift creates three endowed chairs. An additional $500,000 supports the Eller Partnerships office. 
  • A $4 million gift from a couple wishing to give anonymously established an endowed prize for an Endowed Postdoctoral Research Associate in Climate Change and Human Resiliency, awarded through the university’s Research, Innovation & Impact office. The funding will support multiple postdoctoral researchers over the coming years, each serving in their position for two years.

Fueling community

Arizona Public Media, an editorially independent, not-for-profit service of the University of Arizona, recently announced a capital campaign for the Paul and Alice Baker Center for Public Media at the University of Arizona Tech Park at The Bridges. AZPM announced today that $54.8 million has been raised or pledged for the building project, which will break ground in February 2024. AZPM has $10.2 million left to raise to reach its $65 million goal. 

With the new, donor-financed building, Southern Arizona will finally have a state-of-the-art public media home, replacing the current cramped and technologically outdated studios located in the basement of the Modern Languages building on the UArizona campus. The new facility is designed as a public square, a convening place for public debates, presentations, screenings and events for generations to come.

Other gifts and commitments, totaling $30.3 million, include support from:

  • Paul and Alice Baker
  • Mona Kreaden and Paul Lipton
  • The George Mason Green and Lois C. Green Foundation
  • The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation
  • Ellen Kaye

The total raised also includes $24.5 million in realized estate gifts that were designated for AZPM. “These gifts make up the literal foundation of a building that will ensure the future of public media in Tucson for generations to come,” said Jack Gibson, CEO of AZPM. “We look forward to recognizing these gifts in a place of honor in the new building.”

Pictured above from left –  Alex Flanagan, UArizona alumna and media agent, with alumnus and former Macy's, Inc. Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren, alumna and Steele Foundation President and CEO Marianne Cracchiolo Mago, university President Robert C. Robbins and University of Arizona Foundation President and CEO John-Paul Roczniak at the Fuel Wonder campaign launch in the Bear Down Building on Friday. Chris Richards/University of Arizona Foundation
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