Beginning in mid-June 2019, Vice President for Advancement Jason Trujillo and President Thomas S. Hibbs took over fundraising for the University of Dallas. Since then, the Office for University Advancement has undergone significant changes.
The main focus has been on expanding the multiple ways that alumni and benefactors of UD can make donations.
Trujillo outlined the changes as well as the effect of these changes made thus far in alumni donations.
“One of the biggest changes that we’ve made since the president and I came into office in July is focused on endowed scholarships,” said Trujillo.
An endowment scholarship is more of a perpetual gift for the school.
“The basis of an endowment is essentially a pot of money that goes into our endowment. We invest it, and then we make distributions,” said Trujillo.
Only the endowment distribution is spent, similar to interest from a savings account. Thus the “corpus” or the beginning donation of the endowment remains as the foundation for the scholarship.
“As you’re spending money, since you’re not spending what you earned on it, the endowment is a perpetual thing, Trujillo said. “hat’s why endowments are so powerful because you never actually spend the corpus … you invest the corpus; you try to grow it by seven or eight percent and then you’re only spending something like five percent every year.”
In the past four months, Trujillo and Hibbs have added endowment scholarships to many departments of the university as a more personal way for alumni to contribute. Most of the ideas for increasing these donations are from Trujillo’s past experience at the University of Virginia and Hibbs’ experience with fundraising at Baylor University.
Recently, on Sept. 26, the Dr. Charles Coppin Scholarship in Mathematics was established by anonymous donors.
“I’d love to have one for every single department so that no matter what you major in at UD there is a named endowed scholarship for that department, and that graduates of that department can contribute back to that,” said Trujillo.
Now, benefactors can both create their own endowment scholarships and donate to existing scholarships in the department from which they graduated. However, a personal scholarship can result in further contributions.
“I really favor endowed scholarships because it’s a way to keep in touch with somebody and it’s a way to make a real personal interaction with the school and a recipient of your generosity; it’s not anonymous.”
Ana Henriquez, a senior biology major and classics concentration, was present at the recent institution of the Fr. Placid L. Csizmazia, O. Cist Memorial Scholarship in Classics on Nov. 19.
“It was honestly very UD in that it was homey in a way,” Henriquez said. “It was just President Hibbs giving a talk and Dr. Sweet telling stories … Abbot Peter just talking about Fr. Placid’s life and … the impact he’s had on people and on students in the past and how this will be a good opportunity for people going into the classics.”
Henriquez agrees with Trujillo on the more personal aspect of donations within endowed scholarships.
“It takes it to the students’ level because you know there may be university-wide scholarships and everything, and that’s wonderful and we definitely need those, but, by taking them to the departments saying ‘Our Advancement Office is working for our students’ like very directly, very personally,” Henriquez said.
However, these new endowments do not have immediate results.
“That’s a very long term play,” says Trujillo, “you have to be around for decades to enjoy it, but perpetual institutions should focus in endowment giving.”
For more immediate aid, Trujillo and Hibbs also implemented the Cor Fund, called for the Latin word “cor” meaning “heart,” as another method of donating.
“The Cor fund, you take it in, you spend it,” said Trujillo. “We use all of that money for the students and faculty anyway so it’s almost like giving for endowed scholarships.”
The donations to the Cor Fund are used in student scholarships like the Trustee or the Founder’s, whereas specifically named scholarships, such as the Dr. Eileen Gregory Scholarship in English, being officially announced on Dec. 5, 2019.
To explain the difference between the methods, Trujillo compares it to a normal bank account.
“An endowment is almost like a savings … and you only spend interest from it whereas the Cor fund is like a checking account, right, money comes and you write a check.”
Most of the fundraising for the Cor Fund will happen in February with the Cor Challenge, however, donations to the Cor Fund are available annually.
Trujillo stressed the availability of donating and especially the need for alumni donations.
“Participation is really important, particularly by Constantin alums, because undergraduates of UD, that actually goes into US News, the calculation, and if you want to help UD, one of the best things you can do, like, right now is to make a gift to the Cor Fund.”
Trujillo encourages anyone who can to donate to the Cor Fund or an existing endowment scholarship, stressing the fact that even $5 or $10 dollars from 100 people can make a huge difference.