About Delaware First
Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware is the first of its kind for the University, an unprecedented, comprehensive engagement and fundraising campaign that, with the help of generous donors, will shape the future of UD.
Here you will find information about our Campaign Ambassadors, FAQs to help explain the Campaign and contact information.
Why a campaign and why now? The great challenges of our time require leadership, perseverance, risk and bold ideas that will advance our world as we pursue the next firsts. The students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University of Delaware are tackling those challenges. Across campus, in places beyond Delaware and to the furthest points on the globe, Blue Hens are challenging assumptions, breaking barriers and pioneering research that will lead to a better world. We want to keep providing opportunities to all Blue Hens so that they, in turn, can continue putting great ideas into practice and exploring new frontiers. This is our moment to define success by the values we shape, the intellectual curiosity we cultivate and the courage we inspire to make a difference. You are an integral part of this moment, as well. Your support and engagement can help us pursue new and expanded programs and initiatives and put Delaware First—in the hearts of our students and faculty, in the minds of society’s leaders and in the words and actions of Blue Hens across the world.
What are the top priorities of the Campaign? We boldly seek to engage thousands of individuals to help shape UD’s future and raise funds for student scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, enhanced programs, improved facilities, athletics and cutting-edge research. The united effort will help us create an extraordinary student experience and extend our impact on the region and the world. We’ve identified core Campaign priorities that, once achieved, will help UD advance from excellence to preeminence. Read about the priorities here.
How did the name for the Campaign originate? Why “Delaware First?” The name, Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, was generated in an independent effort to put esteem for UD at the forefront of philanthropic consciousness. It was designed to follow on the past UD brand identity, Dare to Be First, and pay homage to the areas where we are “first,” including the first state, first study abroad program, etc. This sentiment behind the name starts with the love of our home state of Delaware, the First State, and the thread of pioneering vision that has created, defined and advanced institutional promise that UD has brought forward as a “first” in many categories. We focused the messaging on philanthropy and engagement – asking our constituents to make UD first of their philanthropic priorities since our Campaign initiatives are bold and not replicated at other universities—a “first” of their kind. We hope this phrasing will translate to generous regard for the University as people put UD first in their hearts when considering opportunities to make a difference in our society and our future.
Will this campaign remove student debt load? One of UD’s priorities is to ensure that students from a variety of backgrounds are able to achieve their dream of attending college, regardless of their family’s financial situation. The Delaware First campaign aims to increase endowed scholarship support, which, combined with private support and UD programs like the Blue Hen Success Collaborative and our Commitment to Delawareans, will not eliminate student debt, but will help improve UD’s ability to assist students financially in a significant way.
Why invest in UD? While UD receives roughly 12% of its support from the State of Delaware, the majority of the school’s funding comes from other sources, including tuition, programs, endowment payout and philanthropy. Investing in UD is an investment in the community and wider region. For the state of Delaware, the UD community generates $6.2 billion in annual revenue and supports 61,000 jobs. Every state dollar allocated to UD returns $14.25 to Delaware’s economy. For the private donor, there is no greater return than investing in people who will become world-changers—innovators, leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow.
Why does college cost so much? All around the nation, funding sources for public higher education have shifted, pushing a greater share of the costs onto students and their families. At the same time, college expenses have been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation as universities manage increasing costs. Tuition rises as colleges strive to stay competitive by allocating money to attract top faculty and build state-of-the-art facilities. Attending UD is still a relative bargain compared to other institutions of higher education, especially for in-state students.
Why does UD need support when it already has such a significant endowment? There are numerous financial challenges currently facing institutions of higher education. This is especially true at UD, where our historic sources of funding have scaled back their support, eliminated it altogether or not kept pace with UD’s increasing need to be competitive. UD’s main sources of income are tuition revenue, research grants and private support, which include endowment returns and new gifts. Because of these financial challenges, the role of individual endowments has become even more meaningful—particularly for students. While 62% of UD’s endowment funds support undergraduates, the gap between those who qualify for support and those who actually receive it is widening. At $1.64 billion market value, UD’s endowment is not as healthy as many other private universities and though it’s strong compared to some publics, the purpose of an endowment is to create an income source in perpetuity.
How does an endowment work? An endowment is more than just a gift—it’s an opportunity. When a scholarship or a fund is endowed, it establishes a sustainable source of income that empowers students to achieve their dreams, supports faculty as they teach classes and conduct critical research and drives the University of Delaware to strengthen its commitments and programs. Endowed funds provide a predictable source of income over time that isn’t tied to budget variables, allowing the University to make commitments and build programs into the future. For more on how the endowment is performing and how it impacts UD, read the Investment Offices 2020 Annual Report here.
Why can’t we use part of the endowment to provide more student support? Each of the separate funds that comprise UD’s overall endowment fund has limits on how the income may be used. The University must allocate the funds as determined in the donor’s gift agreement. Additionally, endowed funds provide financial stability to the University as they grow through prudent investment and additional gifts. The interest payout over time is worth more than the value of the amount that might be withdrawn for current use. For example, a gift of $100,000 invested in UD’s endowment for 20 years will grow into an estimated market value of $224,000 and will generate $123,000 for students during that time―and then on in perpetuity.
Why are endowed professorships a priority to the University? Committed, talented and well-funded faculty are critical to UD’s success. Recruiting and retaining professors who inspire learning will not only attract the brightest students, but also create further prestige for UD as they conduct research that elevates and contributes to the University’s reputation as a premier research institution. With an endowed professorship, a portion of the value of the endowed fund supports the salary and research of a professor, dean or department chair. Endowed professorships allow the brightest faculty members to fund life-changing research, engage with promising students and collaborate with scholars around the world.
Why is alumni engagement so critical to the University’s success? UD’s prominence in Delaware and on the larger world stage owes much to the passion of its many alumni. Advancing our University beyond the status quo hinges on their engagement and support. Improved alumni programming—including regional events, Alumni Weekend and more—is essential to this effort. Creating opportunities for interaction with current students will also help alumni learn more about the current UD community. It is imperative that we also encourage young alumni to stay connected with the University and leverage UD’s vast network of professionals, scholars and leaders to help grow their careers.
How can alumni help contribute to the University’s success?
- Financially support any area of UD that is meaningful. All gifts of any amount count in the campaign.
- Hire fellow Blue Hen alumni for jobs or hire a student for an internship.
- Volunteer as a member of a Regional Alumni Club or the UDAA board of directors.
- Become a Career Advisor for students and young alumni through the UD Career Advising Network (UD CAN).
- Wear UD gear and advocate for UD wherever you can.
- Update your contact information every year so we can keep in touch.
Thank you to our dedicated Campaign Ambassadors who champion this monumental effort to accelerate UD’s mission.
David P. Roselle and Louise Dowling Roselle
Morton ’58 and Donna K. Collins
John R. III and Patricia A. Cochran
Stuart M. and Suzanne B. Grant
Martina Combs Hayward ’74 and Pierre du Pont Hayward
Charles W. ’75 and Patricia A. Horn
John B. Kelly ’83 and Terri Connor Kelly ’83
Marie E. Pinizzotto M.D. ’08M and Carol A. Ammon
Donald J. Puglisi and Marichu C. Valencia
David F. ’81 and Heidi A. Welch
Kenneth C. ’80 and Elizabeth K. Whitney
Thomas D. Whittington Jr. ’69 and Marna Cupp Whittington ’68
John L. Anderson ’67
Christopher F. Buccini
James C. Borel
John R. Collins ’80
Donna M. Fontana ’85
Coni Frezzo ’78
Charles A. Genuardi ’70
Courtney Smith Goodrich ’93 ’95M
David R. Helwig ’73
Thomas W. Hofmann ’73
Thomas W. Horne, '88
Raymond A. Jacobsen, Jr. ’71
Elan P. Keller ‘94
Vance V. Kershner ’79
Shawn L. McCall ’88
Paul M. McConnell ’74
Mary Ellen Payne ’78 ’80M
David A. Plastino ’78
Mary Jane Willis
William H. Willis, Jr.
Connie S. Wittig ’85 and Robert G. Wittig ’86