Philanthropic gifts to the 15 University of Texas System institutions reached an all-time high of $1.12 billion in cash and pledge commitments during fiscal year 2011, officials announced Thursday.

Leading the way was UT-Austin with its own record-breaking year of $354 million in cash received, placing it third in the nation among public institutions of higher education.

Cash received gifts increased 21.3 percent compared to the previous year, with a record number of more than 226,000 alumni and individuals making gifts. UT institutions realized more gifts from all sources including corporations and foundations.

“We are delighted and very grateful that, even in challenging economic times, alumni and friends of UT institutions invested in high-quality education, research, and health care for the people of Texas,” Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said.

In the recent past and again in 2011, regents authorized funding, including a recent allocation of $10 million, to allow the UT System to direct strategic investments to campuses to strengthen their fundraising operations.

“Your investments, coupled with the chancellor’s focus on philanthropy in his Framework action plan, have acknowledged the strategic importance of philanthropy as a critical revenue stream in an institution’s ability to position itself among the best of its national peers,” Safady told UT presidents, regents and Cigarroa at a recent meeting.

At the same meeting, the Regents authorized an additional $10 million – bringing the total commitment to $30 million – that will be available to leverage additional philanthropic gifts among the UT System’s four emerging research institutions – UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas, UT-El Paso, and UT-San Antonio.

“On behalf of the Board, I express our sincere gratitude to our friends who have supported the students, faculty and researchers at our fine institutions,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “We believe Texas needs more Tier One research universities to provide new knowledge and to offer extraordinary undergraduate and graduate experiences necessary for a growing state. The investment to encourage additional philanthropic support is an important step in that direction. The Board is very pleased with the exceptional multiplier effect that has occurred as a result of matches applied to research-directed philanthropy,” Powell added.

With philanthropic gifts of more than $73 million directed toward research at UT’s four emerging universities in the past two years, additional incentives from the UT System and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board have grown the gifts to more than $117 million.

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