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Phone: 307-766-2379
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UWyo Magazine

September 2014 | Vol. 16, No. 1

Chairing Success

Leadership is the secret to the UW Foundation’s phenomenal fundraising success.

By UW Foundation Staff

From the founding of the University of Wyoming in 1886 until 1990, there were three private gifts to UW of more than $1 million. Between 1990 and 1996, there were eight. Since 1996, there have been more than 100 gifts larger than $1 million.

Last year, the University of Wyoming Foundation raised $56 million in private donations to support the mission of Wyoming’s only university. That’s nearly 30 percent higher than the previous annual record. This year, the Foundation raised $50.7 million. That’ the second year in a row that private giving has exceeded $50 million.

All this to say, the UW Foundation continues to achieve phenomenal success in its goal of supporting UW, giving the university a distinct advantage in its missions in scholarship, research and service to the state.

How has the UW Foundation achieved such remarkable success? In a word: leadership.

A leader who has done more for the advancement of the university than any other single individual is Alan K. Simpson. He is an emeritus foundation board member, and his energy in chairing the Distinction Campaign ensured its success. Though he’s a very busy man, when Wyoming’s university calls, he unstintingly gives of his time and his energy.

“Al Simpson played a very important role in the advancement work of the foundation,” says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president and CEO. “Al Simpson has been a remarkable mentor for me. God bless Al Simpson.”

The chairs and members of the UW Foundation Board of Directors and the leadership of the foundation itself continually strive to better serve UW by increasing support. They do not rest on their laurels. Each leader has brought a certain focus, drive and expertise to the position, and the depth and breadth of expertise and real-world experience is outstanding.

“I have been blessed by an amazing leadership team,” Blalock says.

An independent nonprofit corporation founded in 1962, the UW Foundation has been a dynamic partner with UW for more than 50 years, appointed by the UW Board of Trustees to raise, receive and manage private gifts to maximize support for UW.

Today, development and institutional advancement are in a separate unit from alumni relations and institutional marketing and communications. At one time, however, these units were all under one roof that was overseen by UW’s very own Peter K. Simpson and his predecessors.

“I applaud those who had a vision back in the 1960s to create a university foundation,” Blalock says. “A lot of universities don’t have university foundations. You’ll find that those who do are greatly benefited.”

Pete Simpson oversaw the foundation at a critical time during its transition to an independent unit. He was also executive director for the Centennial Capital Campaign.

“Under the leadership of Pete Simpson, there began to be clarity that the foundation could be more,” Blalock says.

Chief among those to credit for the UW Foundation’s success is its current president, Ben Blalock. His hire in 1996 marks a turning point in fundraising success.

“I give Ben tons of credit,” says Clayton Hartman, former UW Foundation board chair. “We raised more money in a 12-month period (2013) than the foundation made in total before Ben arrived.”

He adds, “The business of education has dramatically changed, and we can no longer fund universities totally with state fees or tuition.”

Finally, credit must ultimately be given to donors—UW’s alumni, friends and corporate and foundation partners whose enthusiastic support UW could not do without. Their leadership makes much of what we do possible.

“The largest gifts ultimately result in times of celebration,” Blalock says. “They’re very pleased that UW has provided them the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of students and faculty. But we have 25,000 plus donors to UW, and every single one of them plays an important role in advancing the university. Every single gift is very, very important.”

Private donors make all the difference.

Al Simpson

Alan Simpson

Pete Simpson

Pete Simpson

Ben Blalock

Ben Blalock

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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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