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Rising to Distinction continues fundraising campaign

November 7, 2014

Rising to Distinction is UW-River Falls’ first comprehensive fiveyear fundraising campaign, with a goal of raising $20 million by 2016 to help improve opportunities on campus.

The aim is to bring in more money through donations and contributions so the school can climb to new heights. It focuses on more financial aide for students as well as faculty support and to create more learning opportunities.

Rising to Distinction had a strategic plan called “Pathways to Distinction.” It serves as a road map when hard decisions are made, to allocate scarce resources and a continuous measure of success and to celebrate success.

Pathways to Distinction has three strategic priorities: distinctive academic excellence; global education and engagement; and innovation and partnerships. The goal is to create better opportunities for faculty and students on campus and to create a national recognition as a public university.

“Our goal is $7.9 million to support student scholarships,” Chancellor Dean Van Galen said.

As of Sept. 30, the campaign has raised $16 million with an intended goal of $20 million and one year left to go in the fundraising campaign, so it is doing very well.

“We’re on track to achieve our goal, and we’re certainly very grateful for the over 8,600 alumni and friends who have made contributions to the campaign,” Van Galen said.

According to donor’s stories on the website, John Butler, a 1961 UWRF graduate, has made a considerable donation. In 2012 he endowed the J.E. Butler Molecular Biology Scholarship with a very generous initial contribution. The scholarship will cover half the cost of in-state tuition plus research and conference expenses for a biology major interested in eukaryotic research.

“UWRF gave me a start for a successful career at a price I could afford,” Butler stated.

According to the website, the current focused priority is the new Falcon Center.

Replacing the 55 year-old Karges Athletic Center, the Falcon Center will meet the education, recreational and athletic needs of our community. The building includes classrooms, a human performance laboratory, a large gymnasium, dance studio, auxiliary gym, offices, locker rooms, training rooms and other supporting spaces.

There will be remodeling of the Knowles and Hunt Arena as well as the demolition of the Nelson Physical Education Center and Karges Center to make way for the new Falcon Center.

The tentative year for the opening of the Falcon Center is set for 2017 and has a construction budget of $48 million.

There will also be UWRF’s fourth annual scholarship benefit. Daymond John, from ABC’s “Shark Tank,” will be a guest speaker for the event. The benefit is scheduled for Friday April 24, 2015, and costs $60.