UTSA fundraisers honored at University of Texas System conference

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UT System Chancellor's Awards ceremony
Top photo (from left): Eric Gentry, UTSA associate vice president for development; Marjie French, UTSA vide president for advancement; and Francisco Cigarroa, UT System chancellor
Middle photo: Benga Adeeko, UTSA director of endowment compliance; Greg Cortez, UTSA director of data services; Laura Murray, UTSA associate vice president for advancement services and administration; and Cigarroa
Bottom photo: UTSA Advancement seminar participants

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(March 12, 2012) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio demonstrated once again why it is steadily climbing to Tier One status. At the recent University of Texas System Seminar in Austin, UTSA was selected from among its sister UT institutions to receive two prestigious awards from UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa: the Excellence in Fundraising Improvement Award for an Academic Institution and the Excellence in Advancement Services Award.

Cigarroa's fundraising improvement award recognizes the great gains UTSA has made in its overall fundraising operation over the last three years. Led by Marjie French, UTSA vice president for university advancement, UTSA increased cash gifts 236 percent and produced an 88 percent increase in its overall donor base from 2009 to 2011. During that time, the university's average individual gift reached nearly $3,000.

"I am honored to accept these awards from the UT System for our efforts to shepherd UTSA toward top-tier research status," said French. "I credit these dramatic results to the hard work by our Advancement team, with the knowledge that we are already seeing significant benefits for our students and the university."

Additionally, UTSA was recognized for the fundraising excellence that resulted in a $28 million gift from the estate of Mary McKinney in 2010. The legacy of the San Antonio schoolteacher has changed the lives of dozens of UTSA students who have received scholarships in her name. At the Chancellor's Awards ceremony, it was noted that the gift is a reminder to all UT institutions that individuals will make significant gifts to support relatively young institutions that have a vision and are making a difference in students' lives.

UTSA also received the Chancellor's Excellence in Advancement Services Award for detailed behind-the-scenes changes UTSA made in its fundraising operation. Led by Laura Murray, associate vice president for advancement services and administration, UTSA's Advancement Services team was honored for enhancing existing programs and developing new programs and processes to manage donor and prospect databases, research services and gift services.

The UTSA Office of University Advancement is responsible for securing private donations to support student scholarships, faculty recruitment, expanded campus opportunities and community outreach programs. The division includes Advancement Services, Alumni Programs, Development, University Marketing and University Communications.