Raos’ role in fund-raising efforts is key
With the university’s A New Vision of Excellence Campaign in full swing,
I cannot underscore enough the importance of the roles of President Mike
and Monica Rao in securing private resources for the university. It is precisely
because of current and expected budget constraints that the president’s leadership
is increasingly important to the university’s $50 million campaign. While
CMU has not had a long history of private fund raising, and some may not
be accustomed to practices associated with fund raising, let me share a few
thoughts on the importance of the president’s role in major gift fund raising
for scholarships and other programs.
While in Hawaii last week, for example, President and Monica Rao met with
many alumni and potential donors on numerous occasions, encouraging gifts
to the university. Many of these gifts are made to support scholarships of
direct benefits to CMU students. I can say from my direct experience that
President and Monica Rao personally have made a significant positive difference
in gift decisions. Since the Raos’ arrival, CMU has achieved record levels
of private financial support each year, with cumulative gifts exceeding $32
Because of the demands on the president’s time, it is not always convenient
or practical for the President and Monica to travel to help CMU reach the
higher fund-raising goals he has set for CMU. However, he and his family
make many sacrifices and make fund raising a priority at my request, and
because he has found scholarships less than competitive at CMU and is determined
to raise more money for deserving CMU students. It is his vision to be a
leader in fund raising, particularly in light of declining state resources.
Donors who make major gifts to the university expect to see the president.
They want to hear firsthand from the person leading CMU about his vision.
Significant contribution decisions are seldom made by one individual. They
are invariably family decisions, made with spouses and other family members.
Monica Rao’s participation in this relationship-building is crucial.
The president’s travel plans in 2004 include Texas, Arizona, Florida,
New York, Chicago and other key areas to support development goals. In the
end, those who benefit most from the fund-raising trips of President and
Monica Rao are CMU students through increased scholarship support, improved
facilities and education opportunities.
I am grateful for their active role in CMU fund raising and appreciate the university community’s support of their hard work.
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