OCTOBER 24, 2023 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today released its latest Impact Report for Be Bold: A Campaign for Our Future, a $500 million fundraising campaign. UTSA reports that it has raised $380 million at the midway point of the campaign, a number that represents 46,137 donors from 22 countries who have made 142,501 gifts and pledges. The Be Bold campaign supports the university’s growth as a model for student success, a great public research university and an innovative place to work, learn and discover.
“I am immensely proud of this extraordinary milestone and remain deeply grateful to our generous alumni, donors and friends, as well as our dedicated faculty and staff, who remain committed to advancing our great university,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “At UTSA, we’re creating new knowledge, educating the leaders of tomorrow and creating opportunities for upward mobility for our students, their families and our entire community. As we celebrate this moment of success, I encourage you to remain engaged to continue building on the momentum that will forever impact the trajectory of UTSA.”
Be Bold began in 2017 in what is traditionally known as the “quiet phase,” and in 2022, the university publicly launched the campaign. During the quiet phase, the UTSA Division of the Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement focused on directly connecting with donors and enriching relationships that had been cultivated since the university’s first capital campaign, We Are UTSA. Those who contributed to the first campaign, which raised $180 million over six years, now comprise a majority of the key donors who have supported Be Bold, speaking to the critical role that outreach plays in higher education fundraising.
Funds raised from the Be Bold campaign have benefitted many programs across the university, such as the UTSA Brain Health Consortium. An endowment has helped fund the research of Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Cell Biology Jenny Hsieh (right).
Since the public launch of the campaign, major gifts supporting student success, workforce development and athletics have been made by key donors and partners. UTSA Campaign Leadership Council member, Harvey Najim, gave an additional $2 million toward the Najim Center which he established to further expand experiential learning, and contributed $2 million to Roadrunners Football during the 2023 season. Meanwhile, The Hector and Gloria López Foundation awarded $2.4 million benefitting Latino and first-generation students, and H-E-B made a $2 million gift to support workforce development programs.
Today, Be Bold boasts the creation of 91 endowed student scholarships, fostering academic excellence for students and bringing UTSA’s total to 391 endowments for student support. In addition, over $22 million has been raised for endowed faculty positions, creating meaningful opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate and create knowledge through research.
“The progress that we can report at the midway point of the Be Bold campaign is astounding and fills me with great pride. This success is attributed to so many facets that have aligned in a bold way,” said Karl Miller-Lugo, UTSA vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “Our university president leads by example, UTSA’s strategic plan is clear and our fundraising team is committed to strengthening invaluable relationships with alumni and donors. Be Bold represents the phenomenal impact that can result from a university that is aligned and steadfast in its mission.”
Donors including Carlos and Malú Alvarez, Margie and Bill Klesse and Graham Weston have contributed transformational gifts directly supporting student scholarships, student success programs and enhanced research activity. The Alvarezes’ and Klesses’ gifts launched UTSA’s first two named colleges. Weston’s gift was key to the launch of the UTSA School of Data Science (SDS).
“UTSA creates an environment where very bright, diverse and ambitious students are challenged with great academic rigor but also supported to help find their own path to success. Margie and I firmly believe that UTSA graduates are the future of our workforce in Texas and beyond, and will help us create solutions that will solve our communities’ grand challenges,” said Bill Klesse. “The opportunity to directly connect with the recipients of our scholarships and the faculty members who teach them is, perhaps, the most rewarding part of our philanthropic work.”"
SDS core faculty member and the Margie and Bill Klesse Endowed Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science Panagiotis (Panos) Markopoulos says, “It is very important for us as educators to know that we can make a difference and inspire students to boldly chase their aspirations.”
A $70 million Bold Champions in The American campaign also comprises Be Bold. It highlights the standing of UTSA Athletics in the American Athletic Conference. To date, $43 million has been raised by more than 7,000 donors. A notable amount of this funding, in conjunction with support from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County, resulted in the construction of two pinnacle athletics facilities, the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence and the Park West Athletics Complex. In 2023, UTSA also raised a record $3.3 million for its Roadrunner Athletics Fund, supporting nearly 400 student-athletes.
UTSA volleyball player Mia Soerensen ’26 is a sophomore excelling in her studies in neuroscience, thanks to a full-ride UTSA Athletics Scholarship. She serves as an undergraduate research assistant and works under the guidance of Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Cell Biology Jenny Hsieh.
“Because of UTSA’s donors, I can pursue my passion for both volleyball and neuroscience. I wouldn’t be here without my scholarship, and I am so incredibly grateful,” said Soerensen.
Funds raised from the Be Bold campaign resulted in the construction of the Park West Fieldhouse, a new facility that will serve as the home of UTSA women’s soccer and the men’s and women’s track & field/cross country programs.
UTSA’s strategic approach to institutional messaging, branding and social media engagement is also earning the attention of philanthropists from around the world. In 2021, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made a transformational $40 million unrestricted gift to support the university’s aspiration to become a national model for student success. Her generosity enabled UTSA to expand the Bold Promise tuition assistance program. As a result of Scott’s gift, between FY 23 and FY 24, UTSA increased the number of Bold Promise scholarships awarded by 36%, and the total amount of scholarship funds available by 30%.
A recipient of the Bold Promise scholarship, Ricardo Ayala ’25, is a junior UTSA Honors College student majoring in cybersecurity. The Bold Promise scholarship helped him avoid financial barriers. Born to parents who immigrated from Mexico to San Antonio, Ricardo is both a first-generation college student and a first-generation American.
“There are so many students like me that never envisioned attending college during their upbringing. Receiving a scholarship is what showed me I could succeed, achieve my goals and hopefully inspire others,” said Ayala.
As part of the Be Bold capital campaign, Advancement and Alumni Engagement has implemented new initiatives that have significantly increased engagement opportunities. In 2021, the university launched UTSA Giving Day. To date, the two-day event has raised more than $1.7 million from 6,268 donors for student scholarships, program support, and more.
The Be Bold campaign and its many opportunities for engagement have ignited a passion for UTSA among its 150,000-plus alumni. Since the launch of the campaign, at least 106,000 alumni have engaged with UTSA through charitable giving, event attendance, digital engagement and volunteerism.
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