University of Miami Kicks Off $1.6 Billion Fundraising Campaign


In a five-story simulated hospital, students dressed in surgical scrubs tend to a lifelike pregnant robotic mannequin, monitoring her vital signs and counting her contractions. On Virginia Key, scientists crank up a state-of-the-art wind-wave-storm surge simulator to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of hurricanes. In a new experiential music building, students use state-of-the-art multimedia and interactive technology to create a new sound of music. And a kinetic buzz fills a new three-level Student Activities Center, where various organizations such as the student body government and a center dedicated to community service and outreach conduct strategy meetings.

Such is a glimpse of what's in store for the University of Miami within the next four years, now that it has launched its second major fundraising campaign in ten years.

Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami will raise a towering $1.6 billion by the year 2016, transforming the face of a still-young institution yet again with new buildings and labs to prepare tomorrow's medical and scientific masterminds, scholarships for students who might not otherwise be able to attend college, and a brand-new group of talented and ambitious researchers and scholars with the knowledge to not only study global problems, but also solve them.

The campaign, which celebrated its public launch Thursday evening at BankUnited Center in a ceremony attended by several hundred donors, trustees, and top UM administrators, is off to a breakneck start, with $906 million already raised.

Momentum2 will enable the School of Law to provide scholarships for outstanding young students, support brilliant faculty at the peak of their productivity, expand visiting professorships, develop innovative strategies for global legal education, and fund community-based clinics. The school seeks endowment funds to provide substantive support for its novel Legal Corps Postgraduate Fellowship Program, which provides stipends to recent graduates taking unpaid posts in the government or nonprofit sectors. The fundraising goal is $25 million for Miami Law. An infusion of financial resources will help develop initiatives that foster entrepreneurial skills, collaborative programs focusing on specialized fields, and full use of new technologies. There also will be many naming opportunities in a major structural addition to the School of Law, part of a proposed and much-needed renovation. During the silent phase of the campaign, Miami Law has obtained close to $10M towards their goal. The Campaign Committee is chaired by UM Trustee Wayne Chaplin, JD '82 and Vice Chairs Carolyn Lamm, JD '73, of White and Case and Larry J. Hoffman, JD '54, of Greenberg Traurig. The campaign leadership is recruiting a national committee. Anyone interested in serving, please contact

"Few top-rated universities continuously move up," said Leonard Abess, chair of UM's Board of Trustees and co-chair, with his wife Jayne, of Momentum2. "Some universities stall, but we keep getting better. The success of this campaign so far is due to very focused leadership and relentless work by a huge team of people who share a common vision about this institution we love."

Momentum2 comes on the heels of the University's first billion-dollar fundraising effort, Momentum: The Campaign of the University of Miami, which surpassed its goal a year and a half ahead of schedule, prompting UM officials to raise the goal by an additional $250 million. By the time the campaign wrapped up in 2007, a staggering $1.4 billion had been raised.

The achievement marked a milestone in U.S. higher education: the first time that a private university established in the 20th century had reached a ten-digit fundraising goal.

Similarly to the first campaign, Momentum2 is being launched amid the excitement of a major gift: $100 million from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation – funds that will support research and inevitably bring the world closer to a cure for a disease that afflicts more than 25 million people in this country. Other gifts of $5 million and above, made during Momentum2's silent phase, which began four years ago, have helped UM move ever closer to its magic number.

"Our donors from the community, including alumni, trustees, parents, and members of the community, have supported us in record numbers already in this campaign," said President Donna E. Shalala. "They invested in us, and we made sound decisions, recruiting top faculty, top students, and moving up in the rankings. This campaign will firmly establish us as the next great American university."

Among the philanthropists who have given at the $5 million level and above: Jayne and Leonard Abess; Adrienne Arsht; Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Charitable Trust; the Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation; Bonefish & Tarpon Trust; the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis; the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation; the Fairholme Foundation; Patricia McBride Herbert and Allan Herbert; Norton Herrick; John P. Hussman Foundation; Enid Claire Ives; Christine E. Lynn; the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation; the Pap Corps, Champions for Cancer Research; Isabel Collier Read; Theodore G. (Ted) and Todd G. Schwartz; the Starr Foundation; Elaine and Sydney Sussman; and Marta Weeks Wulf.

Their generosity has made possible everything from an 18,000-square-foot expansion of UM's on-campus wellness facility to the creation of a genomics institute, where researchers are making genetic discoveries for the diagnosis and prevention of devastating illnesses. A student center complex and a home for Hurricane student-athletes lie on the horizon.

"This new campaign will allow us to fully leverage the impact of the first Momentum campaign, catapulting this institution to another level of success and enhancing our efforts in the community," said Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president of University Advancement and External Affairs. "We thank the more than 94,000 donors who have contributed thus far to Momentum2, including $138 million raised by alumni. These resources are an important investment toward enhancing the education of our students and the quality of life for South Floridians."

Enriching the student experience, funding scholarships and research programs, and recruiting more world-class faculty members and scholars are the major goals of Momentum2. The campaign also will support programs that benefit the community, allowing the University to partner with organizations and enhance the well-being of citizens, be it in education, health care, or economic stability.

"In line with our strategic institutional goals, we are building a world-class faculty in world-class facilities that educate a generation of world-class students," said Tom LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost. "And through this work, we are making major contributions to our community."

The addition of cutting-edge facilities and equipment will provide a boost for UM's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, allowing the school to continue its mission of saving lives and protecting health as an anchor of the Miami Health District.

UM Trustee Stuart Miller, chair of the Miller School's Momentum2 campaign, said he is proud that the lead gift for the University is coming from the DRIF. "This speaks to the impact the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and the Miller School of Medicine have when it comes to improving and saving human lives," Miller said. "Momentum2 will enable us to make that difference."

The campaign also comes as UM continues to ride a crest of major achievements during the past year. In 2011, UM continued its ascent in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" rankings, climbing to No. 38 (up from 47 the previous year). The new rank represented a rise of 29 slots over the last ten years, making UM the fastest-rising institution among national universities.

Worth magazine recently named the University the most fiscally responsible nonprofit organization in the nation, and for the eleventh year in a row, UM received Charity Navigator's four-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Gift announcements and updates may be found online throughout the campaign by visiting Throughout the campaign, social media users are urged to engage by using "#Give2theU".