By Mariah Schlossmann, For The Miami Student
Miami University recently ranked 14th out of all large-sized universities in the country in terms of alumni participation rates. In the past two years, Miami alumni have donated over $50 million to the university.
To achieve this, every Miami graduate is solicited annually for financial contributions.
"The support we have from our alumni is enormously high, for which we are very grateful," said Brad Bundy, senior associate vice president for University Advancement. "Alumni are always encouraged to give to the part of the university that they're most interested in."
With over 4,000 different gift accounts that people have donated over the years, the donations end up in a broad range of places in the university budget.
Caroline McClellan, associate director of Development for Annual Giving, explained the range of gifts given by alumni.
"The donations could be as broad as giving support to the college that they graduated from, as specific as the Department of Journalism, or it could be even smaller, donating, for example, to a certain club or student organization that the donor may have been involved in," McClellan said.
According to Bundy, alumni have the option to choose where they want their gift to go, but more often, the alumni will give their gifts as unrestricted.
Unrestricted donations give the university the responsibility to allocate the money where they see fit. These donations are often put into The Miami Fund, a general fund that is used at the vice president's discretion.
The Miami Fund is a vital source for meeting the university's needs, whatever they may be and whenever they arise. On average, $2 million in alumni donations are put toward The Miami Fund annually, Bundy said.
The university looks especially to alumni who were involved in intercollegiate athletics during their time at Miami, or others who expressed interest of athletics in the past.
"Over years people indicate their preferences of what aspects of the university they support more than others," Bundy said. "When campaigning for the indoor athletic facility, we looked at athletes, parents of current student athletes, or season ticket holders."
An indoor practice facility located near Yager Stadium is currently in the works and was mostly funded by alumni. Ben Roethlisberger, an alumnus, recently donated $1 million toward the new indoor practice facility.
Another project that focuses its soliciting on a specific alumnus is a $100 million scholarship campaign for different colleges within the university, of which $19 million was provided on behalf of alumni.
"Support for each academic division is always very high," Bundy said. "We find the most success when soliciting individuals to support the college that they graduated from."
Miami University is on target to have roughly 37-40,000 gifts made to the school this term, upon completion of the fiscal year.