UMD publicly announces $120 million funding campaign

 UMD students sharing their college success stories at the Driven Campaign dinner on Oct. 21. From left to right: Anna Monke, Mikhaila Lampert, Savannah Nelles, Samir Bushra, Luke Harger. Photo by Kevin Ott

UMD students sharing their college success stories at the Driven Campaign dinner on Oct. 21. From left to right: Anna Monke, Mikhaila Lampert, Savannah Nelles, Samir Bushra, Luke Harger. Photo by Kevin Ott

After six years of private fundraising, the University of Minnesota Duluth officially launched their funding campaign titled “Driven: The Campaign for the University of Minnesota Duluth” at a dinner in the Kirby Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 21.

“We are seeking the adventurous and the generous,” said UMD Chancellor Lendley Black.

The campaign is part of a larger, $4 billion campaign by the University of Minnesota to support students, faculty and campus renovations. UMD has already raised over $84 million (71 percent) of its $120 million goal through private philanthropy and private grants since the campaign started its leadership phase in 2011.

 The money that is collected for the campaign will be divided for four separate purposes.

The money that is collected for the campaign will be divided for four separate purposes.

The $120 million campaign goal is separated into four sections: “student support” for scholarships and graduate fellowships, “faculty and research” to help recruit top scholars and researchers, “experiential learning” that will offer students more internships and direct career-building opportunities, and “outstanding facilities” to help modernize learning environments at UMD.

“I promise you that the talent and funds you share with this university will be wisely and thoughtfully put to use,” said UMN Board of Regents Chairman David McMillan.

Raising money for student scholarships will offset some of the debt that follows graduates off campus. Currently, 74 percent of UMD students graduate with debt, and the average loan debt for those students is $29,014.

“It’s hard to quantify what these scholarships and hands-on learning opportunities have meant to me and my education other than that it’s made me ready,” said senior Samir Bushra.

Also announced at the dinner was the name attached to the new Chemistry and Materials Science Building at UMD. It will now be known as the Heikkila Chemistry and Materials Science Building after generous donors Beth and Kurt Heikkila. Kurt graduated with a Master’s of Science in Chemistry in 1979, and the family is the founder of Tundra Companies in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

NewsKevin Ott