The University of Massachusetts Amherst has surpassed its $300 million fund-raising goal a year ahead of schedule and completed the largest capital campaign of a public university in the state.
The UMass Rising campaign, which began in 2010 as a seven-year effort, raised $379 million for the system’s flagship campus, UMass Amherst is announcing on Monday.
“I’m truly proud of the accomplishment as a public university,” chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in an interview. “Many students are beginning to benefit from the increased fund-raising, and all of those things are beginning to have an impact right away.”
He said the school has designated four main purposes for the money: student scholarships, faculty endowments, research, and infrastructure.
In order for the school to become more successful, he said, it had to raise more money to augment what is provided through state appropriations.
“For a public university, making the case that private philanthropy is very critical for its success is very tough because many people have the impression that public universities are fully funded by the public through taxes” he said.
UMass Amherst said in a statement that when it went public with its goal in 2013, the college already had raised $183 million.
“Many of the people who already understand the importance of philanthropy made their contributions and their pledges and then once we felt that we were on the right page, we made it public,” Subbaswamy said. “You go through in an initial period when you haven’t publicly announced and publicized it because you want to make sure that you are well on your way to success.”
The goal of the university, which has a total enrollment of nearly 30,000, was to raise the money over seven years. But by 2015, the campaign had reached the original goal and the campaign concluded on June 30, 2016, UMass Amherst said.
“We could have gone through seven years, but we were just happy to have made it in six,” said Subbaswamy, who helped take over the campaign after becoming chancellor in 2012.
UMass Amherst said the campaign drew more than 103,000 donors, including 44,000 new ones. The donations also included the five largest gifts ever provided to the university.
The gifts included $5 million donated by alumni Pamela and Robert Jacobs that will go toward scholarships and an endowed faculty chair in Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, as well as for programming in the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies.
The annual US News & World Report quality rankings put the Amherst campus 27th among the nation’s public colleges, up two spots from the previous year.Olivia Quintana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.