University of Kentucky officials are pondering a capital campaign to raise as much as $1.5 billion as the state's flagship university begins its 150th year.
But first they're asking 15,000 of their closest friends and donors whether it's a good idea.
UK President Eli Capilouto recently emailed an online survey to gauge levels and areas of support. For example, the survey asks whether potential donors would like to help finish the decade-long construction of the new UK Medical Center, or would they prefer to support a new cancer research facility? Do they think there should be more scholarships for undergraduates or more endowed chairs for research?
The survey also asks for respondents' opinions about the state of UK, the direction it's going and its current leadership and academic programs.
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In order to move ahead, "the overwhelming response has to be positive," said Mike Richey, UK's vice president for development. UK's last capital campaign, which raised $1.2 billion, ended in 2007.
"There's a lot of momentum on campus, so it's a good time to assess this," Richey said. "We finished our last campaign in 2007, so we're eight years beyond, so it's probably time to get involved with another comprehensive campaign."
Gauging that response will be the responsibility of the fundraising firm of Marts and Lundy, which is being paid $444,975 to "assess internal readiness, staffing, feasibility, campaign capacity and testing of case statement as we undertake this process of discovery and consideration regarding a campaign," according to UK spokesman Jay Blanton.
Richey said that once the survey results are in, officials will begin meeting with top donors and alumni. If the campaign is a go, they also will meet with deans and administrators to determine priorities in UK's various units, from English to athletics.
"If we go into a campaign, it will be comprehensive, and engage with every unit of campus," Richey said.