The campaign began long before its official launch date homecoming weekend
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The University of Findlay has raised another $1 million after it announced a new fundraising campaign during Homecoming Weekend. “Together We Will: The campaign for the future of the University of Findlay” has already raised more than half the final goal according to Dr. Marcia Latta, vice president of University Advancement.
“This is definitely the largest fundraising effort that Findlay has ever embarked on,” Latta said. “We entered a quiet phase and started this shortly before the COVID pandemic. And so, there were a number of schools that hit the pause button during the pandemic, and we opted to plow ahead. And I’m really glad we did.”
The campaign has raised more than $48.6 million towards a $75 million goal, according to Latta. This goal makes the campaign the largest in the history of the university. While UF only recently announced the campaign to the general public, UF staff and alumni have been working behind the scenes for nearly four years to achieve this.
“This has been going on for a long time, and lots and lots of people [are] involved at a variety of levels,” Dr. Latta said. “This is something that absolutely impacts the entire university and makes us an even stronger and better place.”
UF’s University Advancement department took about nine months to plan the campaign. University Advancement oversees all the private fundraising for the University. Dr. Latta explained the campaign’s planning process.
She said that her department spoke with deans, colleges, and other major components of the University to see how they could improve their programs and the resources available to students.
“Every academic unit was invited to participate [in the planning] as well as I mentioned athletics, [and] the Mazza Museum,” Dr. Latta said. “In fact, the very first capital project that was completed as part of the campaign was the Conda STEAM Education Center.”
The Conda STEAM Education Center was dedicated in September of last year. Besides the STEAM Center, the campaign also raised funds to replace the lights at the Armstrong Sports Complex, which is used for tennis and women’s lacrosse. The complex also holds practice fields for football, soccer, and track.
In addition to infrastructural upgrades, the “Together We Will” campaign hopes to raise $28 million in scholarships for students. According to Latta they have already raised $12.2 million.
“The College of Health Professions received funds for beautiful renovations and expanded classrooms and upgrades for their building. That was completed probably about nine months ago as part of this campaign,” Dr. Latta said.
UF took the suggestions from the various departments and used an outside fundraising firm to gauge the community’s support and the funds necessary to afford the upgrades.
The campaign committee has met bi-monthly over the last three and a half years.
“We were absolutely delighted when we did our public launch at the gala on the Saturday evening of Homecoming, and we were able to announce that we had raised over $47 million dollars,” Latta said. “I’m delighted to say it’s even grown a little larger since then. We are very pleased with where we are.”
The biggest donation thus far to the campaign has been from Billy and Brenda Watterson, who are also Co-Chairs of the campaign. They donated $6 million to be used in the addition of the Watterson Center for Ethical Leadership. The private funding goal for that project is $9 million, according to Latta.
“That will be a brand-new building on campus that will house much of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences but also have other areas within that building as well,” Latta said.
Dr. Latta mentioned some other projects UF hopes to complete with the money from this campaign including several athletic facility renovations and upgrades to chemistry classrooms and labs. She also says the goal for the Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability program expansion and renovation is $3.2 million.
“Actually 54% of all our undergrad students take chemistry, so we’re raising funds for renovation and upgrades of that area,” Latta said.
The funds will also help add more programs to Campus Ministries and add endowed leadership positions. Latta says $16 million is the goal for the Findlay Fund Operating funds.
“There are a number of areas that already, either the goal has been met or are well on the way and funds have already been expended making this campus a much better place,” Dr. Latta said. “Other projects and programs [that] are part of the funding have been committed, and we’re already at about 64% of [our] goals.”
The campaign committee hopes to reach their fundraising goal by the end of July 2026.
“We have been working very hard and diligently and going out and visiting with alumni and friends,” Dr. Latta said. “Except for of course, during the pandemic, much of it had to be done via zoom or outdoor meetings on park benches, in people’s backyards and in their driveways.”
Alumni are not the only donators to the campaign. Many community members, current faculty and staff, retirees from the university and some corporations and foundations have all donated to the campaign.
“Our executive Campaign Committee of volunteers along with President Fell and members of our University Advancement staff. . .we’ve been holding a number of events, sometimes, small, intimate events, other times larger events, to invite people to hear about the priorities, and to have an opportunity to ask questions, and to consider what their own commitment might be,” Latta said.
Sometimes potential donors have a specific project in mind, and other times they find an area of interest after speaking with members of the campaign committee.
Dr. Latta also explained the reasoning behind the committee’s unanimous decision to call the campaign, “Together We Will.”
“We were looking for something that clearly said that as a campus we are better and in pursuit of and hope of achieving our best when we do things together,” Latta said. “This is the [name] that they felt best captured the spirit of University of Findlay is and what we try to achieve.”
“It’s wonderful because it’s a statement by itself, “together we will,” but it’s also, together we will: grow the endowment. Together we will: do our best to educate our students. Together we will: make our world a better place.”