Historic Year of Generosity Takes University of Arizona Endowment Over $1 Billion

Oct. 8, 2021

Alumni and friends made record-breaking impact on students and university programs.



University of Arizona causes inspired record-breaking support during the 2020-21 academic year, setting new benchmarks for overall giving and taking the endowment over $1 billion. Gifts and commitments reached $345.2 million. The previous high was in fiscal year 2019, when alumni and friends gave and pledged $334.6 million to support their areas of passion on campus.

"The university's biggest champions have been with us throughout the pandemic, and their historic generosity is profoundly improving our performance and accessibility during this time of recovery. These results demonstrate how our supporters are more than donors – they are part of the Wildcat community and live our core values of compassion and determination," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins.

More than ever before, private gifts are funding needs including scholarships and student programs, research, the arts, faculty and facilities, said John-Paul Roczniak, who is vice president of development and chief development officer for UArizona and president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. The past year's gifts included one from an alumnus determined to transform the future of a college, Roczniak said, adding that details will be announced at Homecoming.

"This will be a year to remember, because of this game-changing gift and because of how we joined together. Supporters made more than 40,000 donations, ranging from $10 Student Emergency Fund contributions to million-dollar research commitments. All gifts matter, and all gifts make a difference for the programs and people they support," he said.

Reaching an Endowment Benchmark

Many donors make larger gifts in the form of endowed funds. When a gift is endowed, its principal remains untouched while a percentage, known as the payout, is used each year to fulfill the donor's gift purpose. When the 2021 fiscal year ended June 30, the endowment stood at $1.2 billion, marking the first fiscal year end in which it has surpassed $1 billion.

"I'm deeply grateful to every supporter who helped us reach this benchmark. Donors gave $68.3 million in cash to endowed funds this year – a tremendous outpouring of generosity," said Roczniak. "Donors endow funds because they believe in the work happening here at the University of Arizona. They want to ensure that work continues for generations to come."

The UArizona Foundation is a nonprofit organization governed by a board of trustees. Among its committees is an investment committee, which works with outsourced chief investment officer Fund Evaluation Group to manage assets donated for the benefit of the university. The endowment returned 30.5% this past fiscal year.

"In addition to the generosity of our supporters, I'd like to celebrate the hard and diligent work of our investment committee and FEG," Roczniak said. "We could not have achieved a $1 billion endowment without their sustained, dedicated efforts over many years."

The goal is to continue growing the endowment to the level many peer universities with similar student populations and budgets have attained, Roczniak said.

Endowed Gifts for Faculty, Health and Facilities

Three gifts illustrating the variety of causes that inspire donors and the way university support helps them achieve their aspirations for the world were made this year by Jacquelynn and Bennett Dorrance, both members of the Class of 1969, Ginny L. Clements, and the estate of Walter and Irene Sivek.

The Dorrances committed $5.4 million to endow the deanship of the College of Humanities in support of efforts to integrate traditional and cutting-edge approaches into humanities teaching and learning. Dean Alain-Philippe Durand is the inaugural holder of the Dorrance Endowed Deanship.

The endowment will enhance the college's efforts to teach humanities skills that make graduates competitive job applicants as well as better members of society, Durand said. These skills include abilities to foster unity, pursue open inquiry and advance democracy's most powerful ideals.

"The opportunity to do this work more energetically and effectively than ever before is the incredible gift that Mrs. and Mr. Dorrance have given the University of Arizona and its College of Humanities. We are thrilled to be their partners in this transformational work," he said.

Clements committed $8.5 million to the UArizona Cancer Center to establish the Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer Research Institute. Her commitment funds an endowment for the institute, an endowed director's chair, two professorships, startup packages for those professors and lab renovations.

Establishing the institute will increase collaboration between researchers with different specialties and between researchers and clinicians, according to Joann Sweasy, director of the UArizona Cancer Center.

"We can use the institute as an anchor for people from all types of sciences to think in different ways, to really make the next bold, novel discoveries," Sweasy said.

The Siveks bequeathed an estate gift to the UArizona Cancer Center, as well as the UArizona Arthritis Center, Sarver Heart Center and the School of Theatre, Film and Television. The couple's $9.8 million gift was evenly divided among the recipients.

The portion that went to the School of Theatre, Film and Television created an endowment to provide experiential learning and provided current funds to realize a vision to renovate the Marroney Theatre. Construction is scheduled to begin near the start of 2022 and will include technological upgrades to the auditorium, a new lobby, and a digital innovation lab that improves the educational and audience experience.

"Thanks to the generous gift from Walter and Irene Sivek, the College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre, Film and Television will be better equipped to meet the demands for the next generation of actors, artists, designers and critical creative thinkers," said Andrew Schulz, dean of the college and UArizona vice president for the arts. "These improvements will strengthen engagement for audience members and art-makers, bringing them together in spaces designed for creation and conversation."

Learning of the gift was a joyous moment for all at the school, said Andrew Belser, director of the School of Theatre, Film and Television.

"The gift will be nothing short of transformative. It will contribute to the long overdue renovation of the Marroney Theatre, helping to upgrade our theater with the kind of state-of-the-art technology that is critical to training artists for 21st century entertainment careers."

Foundation Leadership

The UArizona Foundation Board of Trustees is composed of volunteer business and civic leaders and university executives who set fundraising policies, steward donated funds and act as advocates. The board is energized by the milestone-level support of the past year, said Board Chair Steven Lynn.

"Even during this most difficult year, we have witnessed the generosity that is critical part of the Wildcat culture – everyone wants to do what they can, whether they're making gifts, or serving as mentors or committee members. It makes me excited and hopeful for what we can achieve in the future by continuing to Bear Down," he said.

Four new members joined the board this year:

  • Scott Douglas, West Coast Capital Partners, Tucson
  • Michael S. Lee, Redmile Group LLC, New York
  • Marianne Mago, Steele Foundation, Phoenix
  • Richard H. Silverman, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon PLC, Phoenix

Board officers for 2021-2022 are as follows.

  • Chair: Steven Lynn, Nupoint Marketing, Tucson
  • Vice Chair: Nancy Berge, community volunteer, Mesa
  • Secretary: Patricia A. Bartlett, BHI Energy Inc., Excel Scaffolding Inc. and Deltak Manufacturing Inc., Rancho Santa Fe, California
  • Treasurer: Michael Hannley, Pacific Premier Bank, Tucson
  • Past Chair: Ted H. Hinderaker, Hinderaker Rauh & Weisman PLC, Tucson

Access the complete list of board members on the foundation website.

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