07/05/2008 - 22:00

UWA undertakes $100m campaign

07/05/2008 - 22:00

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As declining government funding to universities has forced the sector to adapt, the University of Western Australia is laying the groundwork for a $100 million fundraising campaign.

As declining government funding to universities has forced the sector to adapt, the University of Western Australia is laying the groundwork for a $100 million fundraising campaign.

It will be the biggest capital raising undertaken by UWA to date, dwarfing its $25 million Business School campaign, which is close to completion. 

The aim of the project, which will coincide with UWA’s centenary in 2011-2013, is to raise funds for professorial chairs, infrastructure and research facilities.

But the lion’s share of funds from the five-year project will go towards scholarships, targeted at increasing equity and diversity in the student population.

It’s a massive undertaking for the university’s office of development, which is entering a 12 to 18 month planning phase leading up to an official launch in 2011.

UWA development and research services director Dr Campbell Thomson said that, in contrast to past campaigns, engaging the university’s alumni base in Australia and overseas would be critical.

To this end, UWA has set up foundations in the US and Europe in the past two years.

“The Business School campaign has been built on corporate sponsorship, and that’s a good thing. We want corporate sponsorship to continue to be a part of this, but the US experience is that high wealth individuals will probably play a much bigger part,” Dr Thomson said.

“Most likely, the final target will be well above the $100 million mark, but we have to do our research first to ascertain whether it is a viable target.”

As part of its preparation for the campaign, UWA recently brought an expert from Stanford University to Perth.

Dr Thomson said that while Stanford, which is ranked in the world’s top 50 universities, was a private university, it had a good model of alumni support.

“[UWA] wants to be in the top 50 universities in the next 50 years, so we need other avenues to support us,” he said.

Meanwhile, UWA is planning two other capital campaigns. Its Science Futures Foundation is aiming to raise $30 million over three years to fund seven professorial chairs, scholarships and fellowships.

It is also hoping to generate $30 million to $40 million for a museum to house its Berndt collection of indigenous art.

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