We're All for you, IU
by Kent Dove


      Any development professional worth his or her salt can rattle off the top five or 10 private and public universities who raise the most money annually and have accumulated the largest endowments. Both lists remain reasonably stable across time.

Top 10 university endowments, Year 2000 value (in billions)
Harvard University $19.20
Yale University $10.10
University of Texas System $10.00
Princeton University $ 8.40
Stanford University $ 8.60
MIT $ 6.50
University of California System $ 5.06
Emory University $ 4.90
Texas A&M System and Foundation $ 4.48
Washington University (Missouri) $ 4.30

Source: Data were complied by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and appeared in the Oct. 13 and Oct. 19, 2001, issues of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Total voluntary support to higher education, 1999-2000
Top 20 in total giving as of June 30, 2000
Stanford University $580,473,838
Harvard University $485,238,498
Duke University $407,952,525
Yale University $358,102,600
Cornell University $308,676,394
Johns Hopkins University $304,043,508
Columbia University $292,267,910
University of Pennsylvania $288,152,160
University of Wisconsin at Madison $280,182,467
University of California at Los Angeles $253,764,625
University of Southern California $253,287,793
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $238,426,032
New York University $236,620,006
University of Michigan $230,605,282
University of Washington $225,575,162
University of California at San Francisco $218,320,049
Northwestern University $203,069,016
University of Texas at Austin $201,637,095
INDIANA UNIVERSITY $201,594,872
University of Virginia $195,284,182


Top 15 public university endowments, market value as of June 2000 (in thousands)
University of Texas System $10,013,175
University of California $ 5,639,777
Texas A&M University System and Foundations $ 4,205,849
University of Michigan $ 3,468,372
University of Virginia $ 1,738,984
University of Minnesota and Foundations $ 1,550,107
Purdue University $ 1,301,976
Ohio State University and Foundation $ 1,294,923
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Foundations $ 1,105,254
Pennsylvania State University $ 976,298
University of Washington $ 949,796
University of Illinois and Foundation $ 915,436
University of Delaware $ 911,521
14. INDIANA UNIVERSITY and FOUNDATION $ 907,463
15. University of Nebraska and Foundation $ 901,864

Source: These reports were sponsored by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and prepared by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund, a higher-education pension fund. The ranking appeared in the April 13, 2001, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
      Why do fund-raisers want their universities to be on these lists? It isn't just about recognition for a job well done or the personal satisfaction of working for a successful program, or even making it to the "big time." Those of us who work with faculty to attract private investments do so in support of our academic mission. It's about people and programs and the space and environment needed to nurture them. It takes resources to sustain a great university, and increasingly, major public universities like IU are awakening to the realization that private support provides more than the margin of excellence - it is central to our survival as a great academic center. Whether we succeed and at what level we succeed makes a vital difference.

      The evidence is compelling. There is a remarkable correlation between the size of the endowment and the overall quality of the institution. It's no surprise to development professionals that Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT rank in the top six universities with the largest endowments. They are acknowledged everywhere as the best academic institutions in the country. What might be surprising is the high ranking of the University of Texas System, the University of California System, Emory University, and Texas A&M. It's a chicken-and-egg thing, or, in this case, an oil-and-Coca-Cola thing. Usually, we don't know which came first - huge endowments and all they imply attracting the best faculty and students or the best faculty and students attracting huge endowments.

      Never has the competition for quality students and faculty been as keen as it is now among America's prestigious and elite institutions. IU currently is in this rank, but we will not maintain our position without resources. This challenge continues, as the percentage of the university's total budget coming from the state has declined over the past 25 years.

      This is also a time of growing competition for the philanthropic dollar. The number of non-profits registered with the IRS jumped from 422,103 in 1987 to 692,524 in 1997 (a 64 percent increase in a decade). In 1998, the number jumped again, this time to 730,000. The competition for the contributed dollar is intense. And only good institutions will do well in today's saturated market.

      Why is doing well important? Beyond the obvious bottom-line considerations, it is clear that, simply said, the rich get richer in fund raising. Major philanthropic players, be they individuals, corporations, or foundations, invest in winners. They want the assurance that their philanthropic investments are sound. A few years ago, at a fund-raising conference, the CEO of a major corporate foundation spoke on corporate philanthropy. At the end of his presentation a question came. It seems a second-tier university, a regional state institution, had requested a program grant some two or three years earlier, a request the corporate foundation denied. Subsequently, in reviewing later annual reports, the institution noticed that the foundation had funded a similar project at a larger, more prestigious university.

      "Why them and not us?" the questioner asked. "It was our idea." The foundation executive spoke with extraordinary candor. He acknowledged the initial submission and even went further to say that the foundation liked the idea so much that it recruited the larger institution to undertake the project. Why? Simple. The foundation did not believe that the smaller institution had the resources, human or otherwise, to successfully conduct the project, so it sought out a more capable grantee to do it. This happens more often than we want to admit.

      We are thankful that the impact of private support at IU is providing great assistance to the university in general, and to the College specifically, at a time when it is essential. The success of the recently completed Endowment Campaign for Indiana University Bloomington is a graphic example. The campaign raised more than $504 million, including nearly $248 million in new endowments. The number of endowed faculty positions on the Bloomington campus rose from 72 to 200 (up 178 percent), and the number of endowments to support students rose from 888 to 1,543. IU moved from ninth in the Big Ten to first, in terms of total endowed faculty positions. Across the university, we now have 333. The College did even better, with the number of endowed faculty positions growing from 31 to 81, and the number of endowed student funds growing from 218 to 336. Impressive numbers, yes, but what's more impressive are the superior faculty the Endowment Campaign allowed us to retain or attract and the highly competitive students for whom we are now an option.

      Here's a true story that illustrates what endowed faculty positions can make possible. The Department of Biology had a young faculty member whose area of research interest revolved around plants. Because he was publishing a lot in the most prestigious journals, attracting significant grant support, and was a good teacher, the University of Texas offered him an endowed chair. The faculty member was happy at IU. He liked his colleagues, and he liked Bloomington. But the prestige and perks of a named chair at a well-known and well-endowed university were not to be ignored, especially for a man with a young family. Although the department wanted to keep him, it had no equivalent package to offer, and he left.

      Recently, an IU emeritus professor endowed a chair in plant growth and development, with special emphasis on biochemistry as an investigative tool. Many faculty applied for the chair, but agreement could not be reached and the chair remained vacant. The advertisement made it to Texas, where the former IU faculty member saw it and realized that the work he had done since leaving Indiana would qualify him for consideration. He applied and came to campus to be interviewed, just like other candidates. Everyone liked him and could see how his research and teaching skills complemented theirs and strengthened the department. The vote to offer him the chair was unanimous, and when the head of the department made the offer, the young faculty member said yes without hesitation. He'll be "back home again" in Indiana sometime this summer.

      IU ranks with the best universities, both public and private, in our ability to attract funds. We are consistently in the top 20 institutions in total annual voluntary support ($304 million for 2000-01) and top 20 public institutions in terms of our endowment size. We're proud of this, but not because of bragging rights. It is the quiet pride all Hoosiers, native or adopted, take in the quality of this university, our work ethic and values, and our determination to maintain for succeeding generations what we received - a quality education that prepared us to make a difference with our lives.

Kent Dove, BS'68, is vice president for development and executive director of capital campaigns, IU Foundation.
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