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MU endowment surpasses $1 billion, reaches record high

Milestone shows the growth and mobility MU is gaining with state and national supporters

Dec. 13, 2017

Story Contact(s):
Cailin Riley, rileyci@umsystem.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University officials announced Wednesday morning that the University of Missouri endowment has crossed the $1 billion mark, a major milestone for the university. Through new private gifts and stock market growth, the university’s endowment has grown by more than $400 million in the six years since the launch of the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead Campaign.

Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said that this overwhelming support from donors attracts quality students and faculty to the university because they know they will have the backing to pursue their goals.

“Generations of donors have graciously invested in our students and faculty, and we cannot thank them enough for their long-term vision and generosity,” Cartwright said. “Our students and faculty achieve great things when we give them the support they need to pursue their passions in education, research and engagement.”

The announcement featured key donors and endowment beneficiaries who described the importance of the endowment for students, faculty and the community:

  • Mark Wilkins, managing director, the Wilkins Group of St. Louis; cabinet member, Mizzou: Our Time to Lead Campaign; donor, Georgeanne Porter Scholarship
  • Susan Empson, Richard G. Miller Chair of Mathematics Education in the MU College of Education
  • Alicia Curran, project coordinator, the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

“When I was recruited to become a faculty member at Mizzou, I saw potential for the university’s growth and I see that potential being enacted today,” Empson said. “I’m excited to be a part of a college that is building new things and is engaged in forward-thinking scholarship and research to help teachers, students and schools.”

In contrast to expendable gifts to the university, endowed gifts are invested. The university spends 4 percent of each endowed fund’s value annually according to donor wishes. This long-term strategy not only preserves the endowment’s principal in perpetuity but enables it to grow through investment returns.

Building the university’s endowment is one of the top priorities for the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead Campaign. Mizzou is the seventh school in the SEC to achieve a $1 billion endowment. Of the 1,644 public higher education institutions in the nation, MU is the 37th to reach the billion-dollar mark. In 2015, MU was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as one of the five most-improved fundraising programs in the nation.

“Endowed gifts are a great way to leave a lasting legacy,” Vice Chancellor for Advancement Tom Hiles said. “It is inspiring to know that a hundred years from now, these gifts will continue to make a difference. Even though the donors may never meet the outstanding students and faculty who benefit from their generosity, their gift will leave a lasting impact on this university and the community.”

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