Posted February 3, 2016
UW-River Falls has reached its Rising to Distinction fundraising goal of $20 million six months early, Chancellor Dean Van Galen recently announced. The campaign was launched in 2011.
In all, 10,153 donors pledged money to toward the goal, with more than 91 percent already paid, according to a UWRF press release.
Now that the goal has been reached, UWRF plans to allocate the funds generated by private donations toward different areas of the University such as the Falcon Scholars program and upgrading facilities on campus.
For some students, the Falcon Scholars program offers the ability to participate in different programs such as studying abroad. UWRF sophomore biology major Brittany Lubich is among those who have benefited.
“The $2,000 actually allowed me to afford a study abroad trip to Costa Rica that I would not have been able to get enough loans for,” she said.
The Falcon Scholars program awards students $1,000 per year toward their tuition, plus a $2,000 stipend for studying abroad or undergraduate research. Scholarship support for students will remain a priority, according to Chris Mueller, assistant chancellor of university advancement and president of the UWRF Foundation.
Senior Matt Pechacek was able to use Falcon Scholars money to help support his research on energy expenditure for his sports and exercise science major.
“They had a $1,000 per year scholarship that took a lot of weight off of my shoulders that I didn’t have to work as intensely as I normally would have if I had all that debt looming over me,” he said.
Updating campus facilities has been another goal of the campaign. Some of Rising to Distinction funds already have been used toward work at Ramer Field, where about $800,000 was donated to renovate David Smith Stadium.
Mueller also said he hopes to see funds go towards supporting newly created majors at UWRF.
Other facilities improvements include a new dairy pilot plant on campus. Some funds also will be allocated towards finishing the new Falcon Center athletics complex.
Though the campaign reached its goal, there is still a long way to go for private funding at UWRF.
“Private support will never replace public money,” Mueller said. “If we were going to replace the state money that we lost in the last four years we would have to have a $100 million endowment.”
The hope for the campaign is that support will be continued from private funding, especially from alumni and community members, he said.
The University plans a Sept. 23 celebration, inviting all those who pledged toward the Rising to Distinction campaign to participate. For further details, visit the campaign website, www.uwrf.edu/RisingToDistinction.