Giving to the University of Oklahoma for the fiscal year that ended June 30 brought in a record $231 million plus in commitments, with an additional $10 million in new, committed legacy gifts to benefit the university’s mission. The record-setting fundraising, shepherded by the OU Foundation, ideally positions the state’s flagship research university for continued success.
“For over 130 years, the OU family has demonstrated extraordinary generosity and loyalty to our university,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “We see it as our obligation to build upon the legacy we have inherited as stewards of our great university and our fundamental purpose of changing lives. It’s because of our alumni and friends that we are able to provide an unparalleled, affordable education and fuel innovative research discoveries that advance society. This record year of giving speaks not only to the faith our OU family has in our work, but also to the unlimited possibilities of OU’s future, which we anticipate with incredible optimism.”
Guy Patton, OU Foundation president and CEO, noted that much of the past year’s giving came in the form of endowments, with many donors establishing these enduring donations that allow OU to benefit from the investment income they generate for all time.
“These types of gifts have multi-generational impact,” he said. “They empower our students, faculty and campus for all time and ensure OU’s future success. The incredible generosity we’ve experienced this past fiscal year illustrates the power of philanthropy to fuel excellence at OU and gives us tremendous momentum moving forward.”
Amy Noah, OU Foundation vice president and chief advancement officer, is leading a renewed focus on legacy giving – a class of donations typically pledged through a will or estate planning and realized at a later date. She hopes to build on the significant momentum created by the more than $10 million in legacy gift commitments during the past fiscal year.
“Legacy giving — which often includes establishing an endowment — allows OU’s supporters to leave a lasting tribute to their special relationship with the university,” said Noah. “The OU Foundation works with legacy gift donors to make sure that estate funds are directed precisely to the college or cause at OU that the donor wants to benefit.”
The successful past fiscal year included a realized planned gift of $45 million from Earl and Fran Ziegler that will fund student scholarships, fellowships and enhancements to OU’s Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, in addition to underwriting cancer research at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, petroleum engineering scholarships and an operational endowment for the Sam Noble Museum.
Grassroots giving by donors like Mike and Elizabeth Muncy of Norman made an immediate impact on students. Mike Muncy visited the OU Foundation in 2019 and made a commitment to paying tuition and fees for students from his home region of Blaine County. The couple also chose to make an additional gift to the OU Food Pantry, which provides free assistance to OU students, faculty and staff.
When asked what inspired them to give, Elizabeth Muncy said, “We were motivated by hungry students. That’s something that didn’t happen when we were in school. We’ve been fortunate, and we want to help kids go to college and succeed.”
OU student Jack Wilson, social studies education major, has been soliciting donors through Crimson Callers for four semesters.
“Talking with alumni during the pandemic allowed us to do more than just ask for support,” said Wilson. “It became an opportunity to build connections with the OU family during a time when they couldn’t be on campus or have in-person contact.”
Noah is encouraged by the generosity of Oklahomans, especially during the strain of the pandemic.
“The OU Foundation is poised for the future,” said Noah. “We are blessed with a great fundraising staff, loyal and generous alumni and friends and tremendous leadership at OU. This is a unique opportunity to build on the past year’s success and raise the giving bar for the university. Our donors have shown that they care deeply about education, have answered the call for funding and are up to any challenge.”
Patton agrees, noting that a new investment in organizational excellence at the Foundation will continue to help place OU among universities with the best reputations in the country.
“The potential is transformational,” Patton said. “The achievements this past fiscal year demonstrate that our standard of success has been elevated and is building.”
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit www.ou.edu.