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Advancement Committee discusses $2.5 million gift, Cavalier Opportunity Fund

The donation of $2.5 million will go towards allowing out-of-state students the opportunity to attend the University

At the meeting of the Board of Visitors Advancement Committee Friday, University President Jim Ryan announced a philanthropic gift of $2.5 million from 1966 College and 1970 Darden alumnus Terry Daniels. The committee also spent a significant portion of the Friday meeting discussing progress on the Honor the Future campaign.

Daniels’ donation of $2.5 million will go towards allowing out-of-state students the opportunity to attend the University. His gift will be matched by the University for a total of $5 million towards assistance for middle-income out-of-state students. 

For the 2022-23 academic year, the tuition cost for the College of Arts and Sciences comes to $50,348 for the first two years and $53,167 for the third and fourth years who are out-of-state students. This is set to increase in the 2023-24 school year to $52,254 for the first and second year and $55,188 for the next two years for out-of-state students.

Ryan stated his pleasure to announce the gift and his hope that it will offer assistance to new students at the University who may otherwise not have the opportunity to attend. 

“Scholarship announcements are one of my favorite tasks as president because it’s about the willingness of alumni to invest in making sure that future students have the same life-changing experience that they had,” Ryan said. 

Daniels spoke about the increasing cost of University tuition and the importance of out-of-state students and diversity on Grounds. 49 states are represented at the University, but Daniels expressed concern about the increasing cost of an education at the University for out-of-state students harming diversity at the University. 

“The cost of education [is] becoming so incredibly expensive that we’re either going to get to the point where we have the haves and the have-nots, between the rich and the poor, and the poor being basically supported by financial aid form that would become increasingly in-state,” Daniels said. 

The Honor the Future campaign is the University’s fundraising campaign to encourage alumni and friends of the University to donate towards the University’s goal of becoming the best public university by 2030. The campaign has a goal of raising $5 billion for the University, to be divided among colleges and departments, by 2025. 

So far, total commitments to the University — including current gifts and pledged future gifts — during the 2022 fiscal year have surpassed those given in 2021. This year’s $322 million in gifts have surpassed those given at this time last fiscal year by 82 percent. Philanthropic cash flow — which does not include pledges for future support — increased by 46 percent.

Mark Luellen, vice president of advancement, reported that he is very pleased with the fundraising progress made this fiscal year in total commitments. The total $322 million raised is $80 million greater than the University's five-year average of $242 million in philanthropic commitments. Including both signed and verbal commitments, the University has around $400 million in total commitments, according to Luellen.

“We are and continue to be off to a really strong start this fiscal year as it relates to fundraising progress, frankly it’s one of the strongest stocks we’ve had so far in this campaign,” Luellen said. 

Luellen said the University has documented 53 gifts of $1 million or greater over the 2022 fiscal year. The gifts constitute the main source of growth in University fundraising, making up 55 percent of documented progress. 

Luellen also provided an update on the University’s progress on the Bicentennial Scholars Fund and the Bicentennial Professors Fund. The Bicentennial Scholars Fund is building an endowment for student scholarships to provide support for deserving students, while the Bicentennial Professors Fund is an investment to allow the University to create new endowed professor positions. Currently, the University has documented $574 million to the scholarship fund and $428 million in faculty support for a total of $992 million.

University President Jim Ryan discussed the background of the Cavalier Opportunity Fund, a new initiative that aims to allow low-income students who may not have the resources to participate in extracurriculars — including Greek life, club sports and social clubs — to access the full University experience. The program is still in its early stages, and according to Ryan, the University is currently raising funds.

“The student body at U.Va. has become more diverse over the last decade — including socioeconomically — and part of that is because U.Va. guarantees to meet 100 percent of financial needs, but getting students in the door is only part of the mission,” Ryan said. “One barrier that low and middle-income students sometimes face that their more well-resourced peers don’t is that although their financial aid covers the cost of attendance, it doesn’t necessarily cover costs for participating in the full life of the University.” 

The initiative was proposed to allow students to feel a greater sense of belonging by joining clubs and organizations that enable students to access leadership opportunities, develop relationships and boost their confidence. 

“The idea behind the Cavalier Opportunity Fund is to address that gap between what students receive as part of their financial aid package and what might be necessary for them to participate in the full life of the University,” Ryan said. 

Vice Provost for Enrollment Stephen Farmer expressed his excitement to work on the project and how he hopes the Cavalier Fund will help to empower students — both recipients of funds and others.

“Every thriving student helps every other student, because every happy student at the University makes it easier for other students to be happy and achieve what they’re called to do and what they came here to do.” Farmer said. 

The Advancement Committee will present again during the next meeting of the Board in June.

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