UF has exceeded $1.5 billion fundraising goal


Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:49 p.m.

The University of Florida is set to announce next week that it has exceeded the $1.5 billion goal of the Florida Tomorrow fundraising campaign.

But UF President Bernie Machen won't yet say exactly how much has been raised.

Machen told the Faculty Senate on Thursday that the campaign has raised a "heck of a lot of money" and exceeded its five-year, $1.5 billion goal. An announcement of the exact amount will wait until an event next Friday on campus, he said.

"I hope that you will receive this information next weekend with joy, because it really is a good thing for the university as we increasingly see our state support shrinking," he said.

The campaign has funded more than 100 new professorships, he said, as well as scholarships and new buildings.

Machen also commented on SmartMoney magazine ranking UF second on its list of universities providing the best return on their tuition. Georgia Tech ranked first.

The magazine based the study on the average pay of recent and mid-career alumni, divided by the cost of four years of tuition and fees.

The list ranked 50 universities that included some of the most expensive private schools. It ranked UF and other public universities based on their out-of-state tuition.

"No surprise to you — we are a great value," Machen told the faculty. "Underfunded, but a great value for the people who choose to go here and get their education."

Machen said Gov. Rick Scott called to congratulate him on the rankings. Scott also issued a statement yesterday about UF's placement in the rankings.

"They stand out for not only their great outcomes, but their cost-efficient investment," Scott said in the statement.

A law school faculty member asked Machen about another recent high ranking for UF: Playboy Magazine ranking UF third among the nation's top party schools.

"The college edition of Tebow mania is over, but Gainesville remains the SEC's sun-and-fun capital," Playboy wrote in explaining the ranking.

The magazine reported using 900 data points in the categories of sex, sports and nightlife to make its rankings. Playboy last year named The Swamp Restaurant as the nation's top college sports bar, but left UF off its party-school list.

Machen said the university has taken significant steps to address alcohol abuse. He said he wished party-school rankings would go away.

"I hate it. I absolutely hate it," he said.

Contact staff reporter Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com. Visit www.thecampussun.com for more stories on the University of Florida.

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