Editorial: Charting Our Course campaign to raise scholarship money… and other endeavors

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In light of the more-than-slightly-depressing news of President James Ramsey’s desire to dip into the University of Louisville Foundation to potentially fund premium seats for Kentucky legislators at Cardinal basketball games, it comes as fantastic news that there is a fundraising campaign in place that promises to help offset the mounting costs of higher education for students. The Charting Our Course campaign hopes to raise $750 million by the summer of 2013. It is already over $370 million on its way, since the campaign quietly began three years ago. So why was the campaign just announced a few weeks back, if the fundraising is already halfway complete?

Keith Inman, the vice president for university advancement, has the answer.

“We did not want the donors to get tired or bored,” said Inman. “And if we announced it the first day, they would have. And I think it really speaks to the product – the money we have already raised.”

This seems like the best way to have gone about raising such an enormous amount of money, while remaining true to the cause and not seeming underhanded. Charting Our Course plans to utilize money to give need- and merit-based scholarships and to bring valuable professors to the University of Louisville. A fair amount of the funds will also be used to retain our school’s quality educators, furthering the symbiotic relationship between teacher and student that is underlined with money.

By achieving 50 percent of the fundraising goal, the university can ensure that donors are more likely to find a reason to support an already growing cause. With a mission statement that boasts its intention to support students and professors, the Charting Our Course campaign hopes that donors can offset the university’s spending on other endeavors.

Ultimately, the intention is for U of L to become Kentucky’s predominant research facility. Along with general academic support, the funds will also contribute to research, student scholarships, libraries, building improvement and athletic facilities.

Wait, athletic facilities?

Haven’t we already been over this? Such an ambitious campaign to garner support from outside donors needs to fully fund university academics. Students pay a large sum to attend college and, in turn, are educated by worthy professors. Educators are then compensated for years of hard work and research that have provided them the grounds to educate students.

“The students mean a lot,” Inman said regarding the campaign’s intent. “This is focused on the students.”

The students should mean everything. The symbiotic relationship between student and professor is the foundation of higher education and should be the focal point of the Charting Our Course campaign. Instead, it is just a facet, among many others. If and when the campaign is able to meet its goal, it would be nice to see the vast majority of funds kicked back to students and professors and not allocated to build the Taco Bell XXL Chalupa Arena.

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