Hitt’s fundraising plan a necessity
Published: Saturday, October 29, 2011
Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2011 17:10
At his State of the University address, UCF President John C. Hitt announced a new fundraising campaign to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the university, and it is something that is badly needed.
Hitt"s fundraising initiative would aim to hire more faculty, expand the library and complete many other projects needed but are unaffordable due to the tough economy, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.
Last year, the Central Florida Future reported that the library underwent a makeover that came at a total cost of $1,526,757, according to Meg Scharf, associate director for public services at UCF Libraries. Although 102 new computers were added to the second floor, bringing the total number of computers on that floor to 196, there is still a growing demand for computers in the library that UCF is struggling to meet. Hitt's fundraising efforts could help improve this and other issues facing the UCF Library.
We are running short on money as it is. According to Hitt, UCF has lost $100 million in state funding over the last four years, which doesn't include $21 million in construction projects that Gov. Rick Scott vetoed earlier this year. Hitt also added that state leaders are discussing cuts of 5 to 10 percent for this coming year, according to the Sentinel.
"Now, despite our discouraging funding circumstances, I can assure you that we are not leaving our financial fate to chance," Hitt said. "It will be at least a year before we are ready to formally launch this essential campaign, but I know it will go far in securing a brighter future for UCF."
Hitt is on the right track with his fundraising initiative. Given that state funds are continuing to disappear, his fundraising plan could prove immensely beneficial to our growing population. Part of the funds raised will go toward completing the second phase of the Performing Arts Center, according to the Sentinel. The first phase features multiple teaching rooms, a music lab, percussion ensemble rooms and a recording studio. It opened last year. The second phase will include a 600-seat concert hall, two theaters and costume and prop shops.
Hitt has already proven himself to be an effective fundraiser. Many years ago, he launched a fundraising campaign much like this one, which brought in close to $400 million, according to the Sentinel. A significant portion of those funds went to establishing a medical school. This ability to raise funds will prove instrumental to meeting the needs of the university during this rough period of budget cuts and high unemployment.
Our university continues to grow and currently stands as the second-largest university in the nation. We need to increase the funds available to this university to continue to promote research and to be able to expand our campus to be able to better serve this growing population.
Hitt's fundraising campaign is a necessary step in securing funds that are not currently available to the university. Having more faculty will decrease the class-size burden on other professors and make it easier for students to be able to enroll in the classes they need when they need them. Our resources must grow right along with our increased enrollment in order to properly serve our growing community.