Despite recession, fundraising efforts record-breaking

While the nation faces a continued recession, Tech’s department of University Advancement is making fiscal progress through record-breaking fundraising numbers.

“In the last fiscal year, the University had its largest fundraising ever, raising over 7.3 million dollars,” Mark Hutchins, vice president of University Advancement, said.

“TTU has been fortunate that even in this tough economic time, our donors have stepped up and helped support the students and programs of the University.”

Still, Hutchins says the biggest challenge faced year-round is in continuing to engage alumni and friends in diminished operating budget times. Alumni relations is a continuing project for the department as donations from graduates represent a large part of fundraising for the university.

For example, Ottis Phillips, former Tech football player and current president of SEC Enterprises/Miller Lite in Cookeville, has donated more than $100,000 to the Golden Eagle football program over the last four years.

The latest donation came in October 2010 when Phillips presented to Director of Athletics Mark Wilson and University President Bob Bell a check for $31,500.

“His company’s support is entirely to help promote the success of Golden Eagle athletics,” Hutchins said. “Corporate sponsorships certainly help our athletic program and are invaluable to our student athletes.”

The Miller Corporation is among many contributors to the current endowment of more than 59 million dollars.

“The TTU Foundation’s endowment has hovered around 50 million dollars for several years, higher when markets are good, lower when they are not,” Hutchins said.

Tech ranks third in endowment numbers in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, according to the Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education’s 2011 fiscal year report.

Eastern Tennessee State University had the second largest endowment in the TBR system in 2010 at roughly 89 million dollars. The University of Memphis more than triples Tech’s endowment numbers, recording counts at roughly 183 million dollars during the 2010 fiscal year.