“A lot of people who give, will tell a story of how somebody else’s support made their education possible, and I just admire their generosity.”
Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec recently detailed the fundraising initiative currently underway at the university. Inside Texas Tech sat down with Schovanec to talk about philanthropy. He says this year’s fundraising goal is to bring in more than $100 million dollars, about $10 million dollars more than last year. He also says he will travel more to speak with alumni and corporations.
The process started simply. Each of Texas Tech’s 13 deans met individually with the vice presidents of institutional advancement for Texas Tech and for the system. Together, they looked at the specific college’s six-year history of fundraising. Based on that, a strategic plan is devised and a goal set.
“They’re ambitious goal—no doubt, very ambitious. I don’t remember the exact number, but for Texas Tech, I think we’re looking at a figure of over a hundred million,” Schovanec says. “Last year we were right at 90 and the year before we were at 105. So going forward we always want to stay at that 100 million dollar level.”
Paul Herring, Texas Tech’s first and newly minted vice president for university advancement, will play a sizeable role in the fundraising effort. Schovanec says his appointment in October came in part because the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said it was a standard the university needed to meet.
The university’s 13 deans are the drivers, Schovanec says. “The primary drivers in fundraising are the deans. They’re the most important cogs in the wheel,” he says. “Deans spend a lot of their time out there fundraising. It’s just a cultural thing at universities, it would be the president and the deans. At Texas Tech, it was the deans and the chancellor. Now it’s going to be the president, the chancellor and the dean.”
Schovanec says fundraising dollars come in various amounts. Recently he signed 10 gift agreements with individual donors that ranged from $10,000 to $200,000. He also not long ago cemented a gift from a foundation tied to AT&T t a meeting in Fort Worth.
He also pointed to Dusty Womble $10 million gift that will go toward building a $23 million standalone basketball practice facility. And, he says, there will soon be another announcement about a very large gift to the university.
“Texas Tech has always excelled in the area of fundraising. If you were to look at data…we have three top university rankings—two are in areas related to giving,” he says.
The university’s 28 development officers will look at potential for giving, utilizing data compiled through the years. Schovanec says alums from the engineering and business schools have the greatest potential for giving. Additionally, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Human Sciences have a strong history of giving.
But Schovanec, who says he will spend 30 percent of his time on the road fundraising, is continually surprised by those who give back to their university.
“You can’t really categorize easily the pattern and the motivations for giving. It’s all over the place,” Schovanec says.