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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Nye: Campaign will reach goal

Despite an economic slowdown, Texas A&M Regent Erle Nye said Friday that the One Spirit, One Vision fundraising campaign will reach its $1 billion goal.
“People give because they care,” Nye said. “It is easier to raise money in boom times. But I’ve found people don’t quit giving when the economy is struggling.”
More than 700 donors were given the opportunity to ask questions and air concerns during a special Board of Regents meeting at The Zone in Kyle Field Friday afternoon to kickoff the public phase of One Spirit, One Vision.
A&M President Robert M. Gates said the campaign, now in its third year, has raised $511 million in gifts and pledges as of March 2003.
Gates and Robert Harvey, Class of 1977, and vice chair of the campaign, answered questions from donors who wanted to know how the money would benefit students.
“The first priority established by this campaign is to increase the number of faculty,” Gates said.
Gates said A&M has fewer tenured professors than in 1994 and that increasing the number of professors will lead to smaller classes and more student access to professors.
Other goals of the campaign, such as increasing the number of scholarships and better athletic programs, will also benefit the average student.
“Excellence in athletics will definitely enhance the life of the students,” Gates said.
Thus far, the campaign has raised money for 19 endowed Foundation Excellence Awards, scholarships given by the Texas A&M Foundation to minority students. In total, $92 million has been raised for scholarships, including 585 scholarships for undergraduates.
Money has also been raised for graduate fellowships and faculty chairs to lure and keep distinguished faculty.
Nye said the campaign is important because of the looming cuts in state funding.
“Don’t bother (lobbying state officials for more money). They want to be supportive of higher education but the money just isn’t there,” he said.
Nye said that Gates has helped the University cope with budget cuts by putting an emphasis on spending efficiency.
The importance of research at A&M was also discussed by those who believe it distinguishes A&M from other state schools and those who expressed concern that funding research will do little to help the average student.
“What is done in the research labs in the morning is taught in the classroom in the afternoon,” Gates said.
Regent Anne Armstrong said that One Spirit One Vision will give the University a chance to improve its weak programs and boost its ranking among top universities in America.
“(One Spirit One Vision) will make us not just in the top 20 but maybe in the very top,” Armstrong said.
The campaign began in 2000, and all donations made to A&M between that date until 2007 count toward the campaign goal.

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