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Lead On: The University of Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Future Surpasses $1 Billion Milestone

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OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. at the podium during the Lead On Gala in October 2023.

Lead On: The University of Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Future Surpasses $1 Billion Milestone

March 7, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA.Lead On: The University of Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Future has passed the halfway mark of its seven-year fundraising goal by raising $1 billion for student support, faculty recruitment and retention and transformative projects across campus.

Lead On – the university’s first comprehensive campaign in over 20 years – officially launched in Oct. 2022 and has since raised half its $2 billion goal. The campaign has garnered widespread support, demonstrating the OU community's unwavering commitment to advancing the university's mission.

“The OU Family continues to demonstrate the drive and determination that have made our university what it is today,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “When our community unites with shared purpose and passion, we accomplish incredible things. This is an exciting moment in OU history, and I can’t wait to see how much farther our collective efforts can propel us.”

Significant naming gifts to the university have enhanced academic excellence and enriched the experiences of countless individuals. A landmark contribution to the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences ensures that OU’s excellence remains affordable in a college that provides three-quarters of the university’s general education curriculum. Similarly, OU has received the largest philanthropic donation aimed at an OU women’s sports program, which has led to the creation of Love’s Field, a state-of-the-art facility benefiting OU softball student-athletes, coaches and their devoted fans for years to come.

The vision of generous donors has resulted in significant campus enhancements, including renovations to the historic Armory, which supports the training of ROTC students. Additionally, the Jones Family Welcome Center at Jacobson Hall is undergoing renovation to enhance the campus experience for prospective students and their families.

“OU’s donors recognize that transforming the world and realizing our strategic vision begins by equipping our students with the tools they need to pursue a successful, fulfilling path,” Harroz said.

More than $240 million has been raised for student support, significantly increasing scholarship endowments that will forever provide crucial financial assistance for deserving students—many of whom hail from Oklahoma and are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

Vital annual support has enabled major achievements at OU, including winning ten Davis Cup titles for the largest freshman class of United World College Scholars in the United States. The OU UWC Scholars Program is now the largest program of its kind in the nation.

Private giving has also played a pivotal role in advancing OU's research initiatives, facilitating breakthroughs in fields such as physics and material sciences, advanced radar, storm prediction and global security, and energy and the environment.  

Crucial support from committed donors has been instrumental in sustaining the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center's position as a global leader in diabetes research, treatment and prevention. Significant contributions have enabled the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center to achieve the esteemed status of Oklahoma’s sole National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and extend its reach, amplifying its impact on cancer care and research in the state and the region. Likewise, the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center recently announced it is joining the National Cancer Institute’s new Cancer Screening Research Network to study promising approaches for cancer screening, especially among Oklahomans with high cancer risk and limited access to screening services.

The Lead On campaign has successfully aligned OU’s areas of excellence with essential workforce demands. Strategic gifts to the School of Aviation have doubled enrollment and bolstered the university's aircraft fleet. Additionally, donors are facilitating connections between students and industry partners through innovative learning approaches at programs like the OU Polytechnic Institute in Tulsa and the Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth through the Price College of Business in Norman. Moreover, a remarkable estate gift has significantly boosted faculty support and helped double student enrollment in the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.

The success of 2023 Giving Day, which raised over $22.6 million in just 24 hours, underscored the unwavering support of the OU community. Similarly, Lead On has inspired more than 25,000 first-time donors to join the campaign for OU’s future. Leadership anticipates another successful Giving Day on April 2, 2024, when the OU community will again unite in enthusiastic support for important programs, departments and organizations.

“As Lead On continues to gain momentum, the University of Oklahoma will advance excellence in education, research and service,” Harroz said. “Our $2 billion goal is in sight, and we are determined to fulfill our mission of changing lives.”

For more information about OU’s Lead On campaign and how to get involved, visit leadonou.org.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.

About the OU Foundation

The University of Oklahoma Foundation is an independent charitable organization that facilitates and manages philanthropic gifts to support the University of Oklahoma. With a culture of integrity, skill and persistence, we align the passions of donors and our alumni with the indelible mission of the University of Oklahoma.


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