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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

Private donations: Where are they going?

On Nov. 15, it was announced that The Campaign for UC Davis reached its fundraising goal of $1 billion from over 100,000 private donors. This was the University’s first-ever comprehensive funding campaign, which began in October 2010 and reached its goal one year earlier than its scheduled end date of December 2014.

The funds will be distributed across many disciplines and will address various needs for students, professors and University projects. The campaign is funding over 1,000 new scholarships, fellowships, awards and other activities for students, as well as implementing improvements in the University that will “advance the university’s mission and vision.” The largest private donation was a $100 million grant to establish a nursing school.

We think that the success of this campaign will be beneficial to students and we appreciate the large support from alumni, professors and other private donors — it shows that people all over the U.S. care about UC Davis and the success of its students.

In light of this economic boost, we hope that the money we received will be distributed fairly amongst the academic departments and in a way that will foremost benefit students. Being a primarily science and research University, we are excited about the opportunities this money will provide the scientific community, but we also hope that those departments that have suffered most from recent budget cuts will receive their fair share of the money as well.

Although we appreciate the success of the campaign, we question whether the fact that the funds come from private donors will restrict the University’s freedom in deciding how to use them. It’s great that we will be creating a new nursing school because of a single donation, but will other donors take the decision-making out of the University’s hands?

In these tough economic times, this campaign will inevitably benefit the University. But can we really rely on private donations to fix all of our economic burdens? No, but at least it will help — for now.



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