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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Frank aspires to $1 billion

Donation goal for 2020 viewed as doable by most

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@ArdeeTheJourno

After UNM President Robert G. Frank’s State of the University address, University and student officials feel positive that UNM can raise $1 billion by 2020.

In his address in Keller Hall on Friday, Frank announced “Changing Worlds 2020: The Campaign for UNM.” He said that through the campaign the University will “strive for $1 billion in private support in by the end of 2020.”

“We have set goals that strive beyond certainty,” he said in the address. “We are challenging ourselves. We are doing what is right. We are moving quickly and deliberately seeing results.”

Initially named “Changing Worlds: The Campaign for UNM,” Frank decided to rename the campaign to reflect the goals set by his UNM’s Vision 2020, he said. The campaign was initially launched in 2006, and has so far raised $620 million.

Frank said that about 60,000 donors, who include donors to the UNM Harwood Museum and to Innovate ABQ, have pitched in to the campaign. He said that 15,000 donors contributed a total of $81.6 million to the campaign in the last year.

“We need to continue to build on UNM’s best ideas,” he said. “Building on the UNM 2020 goals, but with the same emphasis on student success, faculty support and capital projects as before, we want to continue to energize our alumni and friends to make meaningful gifts.”

Rachel Williams, president pro-tempore of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, said she thinks it is feasible for UNM to collect $1 billion in the next six years.

“I’m optimistic,” she said. “President Frank has come in, and he has done really incredible things for this university. If he has really put his eyes on $1 billion by 2020, then I think that anything is possible. I would love to see that come in to UNM.”

Williams said she is grateful that Frank is transparent about his financial goals for the University. But she said that in the future, she expects Frank to be more engaged with the University’s student governments.

“I think it’s really beneficial for President Frank to be open about his goals,” she said. “We hear bits and pieces of it all the time, and to really get the big picture of what UNM 2020 is … is really beneficial.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Eliseo Torres said he agrees with Williams with regard to the $1 billion goal. He said Frank has taken huge steps for the development of UNM since he took the presidential seat in 2012.

“I’m really impressed with all the progress UNM has done within the last few years,” Torres said. “I think we’re at the peak of being one of the best universities in the country.”

Torres said Frank’s greatest accomplishment so far has been the formation of the Global Education Office.

“He has a global view of the university,” Torres said. “We’re going beyond being a state university into an international university … I think it’s important for our students to be exposed and to travel abroad and for us to receive more international students because our world is getting smaller every day.”

In 2013, the University established the Global Education Office to aid students with their global educational experience.

Frank said in his address that since last year, the number of incoming international students on campus has increased by 13 percent, and the number of outgoing UNM students has increased by 8 percent. He said that by 2020, “we want 100 percent of our students to have some form of international experience, including internationalization at home.”

ASUNM President Isaac Romero said he agrees with Frank. He said Frank has transformed the office by implementing more international initiatives for students, and he also finds the $1 billion goal feasible.

“I expect to see President Frank work and accomplish all his goals that he has set for the University,” he said. “I’ll watch from a distance as I continue growing myself. I just hope that all of these goals can be accomplished.”

Graduate and Professional Student Association President Priscila Poliana said she believes that Frank made progress with Innovate ABQ during the past two years of his presidency. She said she believes that the program will become integral for UNM students.

“Innovate ABQ is something that definitely resonates with me a lot,” she said. “We are missing a missing link, which is getting students connected with the laboratories and promoting entrepreneurship.”

Innovate ABQ is a two-site ‘live, work, play’ program to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship that UNM has been working on since 2012. The program will have a site downtown and a second one at Mesa del Sol. Innovate ABQ recently received $1 million from the Bernalillo County Commission and is currently awaiting results of an environmental soil study for the downtown site.

Poliana said she expects that Frank will achieve his goals beyond the $1 billion in the future.

“Moving forward, this will take the University where it needs to get to,” she said. “I think that we have a great team at the UNM Foundation. We can definitely do this.”