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Need-Based Aid Identified as a Top Priority of $150 Million Campaign

Today, officials announced that Duquesne University has raised more than $84 million in a $150 million campaign that will focus on growing endowment funds for need-based aid, as well as improving academic programs and enhancing student life.

“Increasing funding for need-based scholarship aid will be among the highest priorities of this campaign—and this University—from this day forward,” President Charles J. Dougherty said. “There is nothing more central to advancing the mission, values and Spiritan character of Duquesne University than providing access to all deserving students.”

Progress of the ongoing Advancing Our Legacy campaign, which began in fiscal year 2004 and will continue through 2012, was reported by Joseph C. Guyaux, campaign steering committee chair and member of the Board of Directors, at the Duquesne Society dinner.

“This campaign is unprecedented in University history in the breadth and depth of its outreach, and the response has been unparalleled as well,” Guyaux said.

He cited several key indicators of success:

  • More than 47,831 donors have supported Advancing Our Legacy, as of Sept. 30; 18,903 were first-time contributors.
  • This campaign has yielded 23 gifts from individuals of $500,000 or more to date, while only eight such commitments previously had been made in University history.
  • Similarly, 15 gifts from individuals of $1 million or more have been received in this campaign, while only six gifts of this magnitude were made prior to 2004.
  • Corporations and foundations have made gifts totaling $21.6 million—including the second-largest foundation gift in University history, $2 million from the R.K. Mellon Foundation.
  • Faculty and staff have made gifts totaling $1.6 million, underscoring a deep commitment to the University’s mission.

Dougherty said that increased funding for need-based aid, in an initiative named The Legacy Fund, is critical to sustaining Duquesne’s recent success in attracting and retaining a diverse pool of exceptional students. “By making finances less of a concern, students and families can make decisions based on our many other assets.”

At the same time, larger endowments for scholarships will allow a greater share of University operating revenue to be applied to the other key priorities of academics and student life, such as Spiritan Campus Ministry, personal counseling, career advisement, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, and service-learning and volunteer opportunities.

“We will continue to pursue funding to enhance our existing academic programs and to support new academic initiatives that prepare students for successful lives and careers,” said John P. Plante, vice president for University Advancement.

For instance, the creation of the Edward V. Fritzky Endowed Chair in Biotechnology Leadership leverages Duquesne’s assets in the sciences with the strengths of the University’s other schools to develop innovative interdisciplinary programs in the burgeoning biotechnology field. The endowed chair was established by a $1.5 million gift from 1972 graduate Edward V. Fritzky. Ranked by Forbes as “Best Boss in America” in 2002, Fritzky rose from pharmaceutical sales to the top office at the biotechnology firm Immunex and spearheaded the merger of Immunex and Amgen—one of the largest corporate marriages in American history. He told Duquesne Society members that the campaign’s emphasis on building a stronger future from Duquesne’s unique history as “the ‘bootstrap’ university” helped to motivate his gift.

“Campaigns, by themselves, don’t motivate philanthropy. They only create a temporary sense of urgency.” Dougherty said. “But properly nurtured, our legacy will never end. It will only become ever more valuable to its heirs.

“We thank those who have participated thus far, and invite everyone who cares about Duquesne and what we stand for to add their generous support,” Dougherty concluded.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.