2011-2012 was a record-breaking fundraising year for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the university announced Monday.
UT reports that more than 32,700 alumni and friends of the university gave more than $104.7 million. That's an increase of $7.6 million over the 2010-2011 fundraising year.
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a press release that strong private support is vital to UT's efforts to become a Top 25 public research university.
"Successful fundraising efforts are an integral part of our journey," Cheek said. "It allows us to recruit the best students with scholarships, and educate and challenge them with the best faculty, who are recruited or retained with privately funded professorships and chairs. In the end, the future of our state is enhanced as the best and brightest minds from our university make a positive impact on all Tennesseans through their research and discovery."
Cheek announced the Chancellor's Faculty Salary Support Challenge in July 2011, which is an effort targeted at recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty. Under the challenge, the Office of the Chancellor will match up to $2.5 million in new and existing faculty endowments over the next five years.
The challenge is off to a strong start with 15 faculty awards and professorships awarded already in a number of colleges, including nursing, engineering, social work and business administration.
80 other endowments were created in addition to the faculty challenge.