After five years of campaigning the university has managed to raise $35 million for the students of WT. The campaign has raised money for countless scholarships and opened new teaching positions within WT. It has also built an outdoor sports complex, which is the largest synthetic field in North America, a top of the line athletic center for a Division II college, and state of the art endowed classrooms.
“Many companies have elected to name classrooms as a way to create brand awareness within our student population,” Tim Bynum, Certified Fund-raising Executive and Director of Development, said.
A third of the campaign is “Buff Branding” or branding campus classrooms with the name of the donors. There are different levels of gifts, meaning the price depends on the square footage of the room, the construction involved, and the designed use of the space. A recent gift in the size of $20,000 to $60,000 would be enough to construct and outfit a classroom or lab in the college of the donor’s choice.
Spaces like athletic fields, the pedestrian mall, or actual buildings have gone for considerably more than the average $20,000- $60,000. For new construction, the donors must put up 60-70% of the total construction cost for the naming rights.
“In the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering you have spaces like the Schaeffer Agriculture Education Building and the Bell Helicopter Classroom,” Carly R. du Menil, Senior Development Officer, said.
Each donor has not only provided funding at different levels to upgrade these spaces but have also created endowment funds to ensure that each classroom is maintained. All classrooms are kept in respectable condition to reflect well on both the donors and the university. There are opportunities to name labs and classrooms in every college on campus.
When a donor gives a gift for an endowment, such as a classroom, the donor is allowed to customize the room in a way they believe will help the students learn to their best ability. The process to formulate classrooms and upgrades may take numerous months. Upgrades can include new paint, floors, molding, chairs, desks, tables, lighting and electrical equipment and technology. This is a way for individuals or businesses to have the opportunity to make their long-lasting mark on campus.
“Every time a classroom is endowed it must be approved by the A&M board of Regents and then that name is on that space in perpetuity,” du Menil said.
The $35 million dollar campaign also included endowed and non-endowed scholarships distributed throughout the campus and endowed chairs and professorships that support the faculty in that specific college.