LOWELL, Mass. – With the support of thousands of donors, UMass Lowell’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Our Legacy, Our Place,” has surpassed its $125 million goal 18 months ahead of schedule, thanks to a new, $5 million commitment from alumnus Brian Rist, the largest single gift in university history.
Rist, a Stoughton native who received a degree in business administration and operations management from UMass Lowell, is the founder of Storm Smart, Florida’s largest hurricane protection company.
“I wanted to thank the university for putting me on the road to where I am today and make those same opportunities available to even more people,” said Rist, whose gift will support student scholarships and other initiatives.
“Brian’s generosity will have a tremendous impact on our students,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “That’s the power of ‘our place’ – this determination to help new generations succeed because we share the same story.”
“Our Legacy, Our Place” was launched to support the dramatic growth UMass Lowell has experienced over the past decade by raising $125 million by 2020 for student scholarships, faculty recruitment and research, campus improvements and the new Division I athletics program.
In all, more than 32,000 donors – alumni, faculty, staff, students, family members, and corporate and community partners – have made gifts to the campaign between 2013 and 2018, said Vice Chancellor for Advancement John Feudo.
“Our donors completely exceeded our expectations with their enthusiasm as well as their financial support,” said Feudo. “They know that by supporting UMass Lowell, they’re investing not only in the success of our students, but also in research and economic development whose impact is felt well beyond our region.”
Gifts to the campaign have:
- More than doubled campus’s endowment to $84.7 million;
- Increased the number of endowed scholarships and faculty research funds to more than 520;
- Helped fund the remarkable transformation of the UMass Lowell campus, including facilities like the University Crossing student center, the Pulichino Tong Business Center and the River Hawk Village residence hall;
- Supported entrepreneurial initiatives like the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub and Fabric Discovery Center;
- Ensured UMass Lowell’s successful transition to Division I athletics with scholarships and academic support programs for student-athletes.
Meeting the campaign goal is a “true cause for celebration,” Moloney said, “and we have a lot of important work still to do.” That includes putting a bigger dent in student loan debt: Almost one-third of in-state UMass Lowell students with need come from families with household incomes of $30,000 or less and many are the first in their families to attend college.
The university has just launched a second phase for the campaign, “Our Legacy, Our Place: 125 and Rising,” a push to raise an additional $25 million by 2020 when UMass Lowell will celebrate its 125th anniversary.
“We’re going to work a little harder and give back a little more,” said Moloney.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu