A banner year
Charitable giving for FY ’13 third best year in University’s history.
Success begets success, and it seems to be spreading to every corner of Rowan University.
That’s certainly true in Advancement, the fundraising and philanthropic arm of the University that helps support scholarships, capital improvements, programs and research.
For fiscal year ’13, which ended June 30, Rowan raised nearly $6.5 million in philanthropic giving from individuals, corporations and foundations—its third best fundraising year ever.
In addition to over $2.5 million in support for scholarships, gift highlights included a $150,000 capital improvement pledge from alumna Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver (’62), a $300,000 grant from Lawrenceville-based Edison Ventures to support online outreach to K-12 teachers through the College of Engineering, $300,000 from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to fund training of future teachers with strong STEM backgrounds, and a $50,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to support fitness initiatives for disabled individuals and their caregivers through the College of Education.
Other monies raised this year have gone toward supporting special projects, learning initiatives and innovative faculty research in a variety of disciplines; in-kind gifts of equipment and services; funding for the arts and athletics; as well as unrestricted funds received through the Phonathon and other annual giving programs.
In addition to large commitments, Rowan this year also enjoyed bourgeoning support from donors at all giving levels—alumni and non-alumni alike.
“It really shows that every gift matters,” said R.J. Tallarida Jr., associate vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Rowan University Foundation. “Each gift is more than a check or a pledge; it is a vote of confidence in the University and the work we are doing.”
Tallarida said Rowan’s fundraising success can be attributed to multiple factors including President Ali A. Houshmand’s leadership initiatives; increased engagement of Rowan’s alumni, friends and constituents; the University’s growth; the inclusion of academic deans and administrators in the fundraising process; and the addition of both central and college-based development officers.
Fiscal year ’13 was outpaced in fundraising only by 1992, when Henry and Betty Rowan committed more than $100 million to then-Glassboro State College, and 2005, when the William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation pledged $10 million to Rowan’s College of Business.
But Tallarida said the President’s entrepreneurial approach to fundraising was perhaps the greatest single factor in the uptick.
“Dr. Houshmand appreciates the need to build relationships, to get out there and tell the Rowan story, and donors are responding,” Tallarida said.
He also said leadership on Rowan’s Board of Trustees and Foundation Board has proven key in not only developing a greater appreciation for philanthropy but in shaping an approach to it.
"Like the perfect storm"
Tallarida said the newest wave of philanthropy followed a March 2012 commitment of $1.055 million by alumnus Lawrence Salva (’77) and his wife Rita to fund scholarships to Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU). That commitment underscored the excitement generated by the new medical school and the success it has had in attracting private support through its inaugural philanthropic initiative, the 2012 Legacy Society.
The opening of CMSRU last summer preceded a number of recent milestones including the designation of Rowan as a state research university and acquisition of the School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) in Stratford in July, and the announcement in April that Rowan would receive $117 million in state construction funding. Among other projects, Rowan will use that funding to build a new home for the Rohrer College of Business and a second building for the College of Engineering, developments that will enable both colleges to double enrollment.
Rowan acquired SOM and received research university status in accordance with last summer’s N.J. Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, which is also pairing the University with Rutgers-Camden in a new College of Health Sciences.
Rowan’s existing Camden campus is expanding and Rowan’s partnership with developers and the Borough of Glassboro in the $300 million Rowan Boulevard project is moving rapidly with a new Courtyard by Marriott hotel and a new home for the College of Graduate & Continuing Education set to open in August.
Tallarida noted that none of this unprecedented growth would have been possible had it not been for leadership that’s setting a businesslike, student-centered tone for the future of Rowan.
“It’s like the perfect storm of philanthropy,” he said. “We have a dynamic leadership that is more entrepreneurial, we’re reaching out to people with our powerful story, and donors are responding. They see the success and want to be a part of it.”