ARKADELPHIA – Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia has received a record $17.2 million in private support in academic year 2017-2018. The fundraising total surpasses the previous record set in 2005-2006 by almost $1 million.
“We are fortunate to work with alumni friends and churches who believe in and give so generously in support of the mission and vision of Ouachita” said Ben Sells president. “Our donors appreciate our success in developing leaders in so many walks of life and extend our impact around the world.”
Of the $17.2 million given 58 percent is in the form of cash and pledges. The remaining 42 percent is in realized estate bequests. The bulk of the funds approximately $12 million will be applied to annual and endowed student scholarships. The remainder is earmarked for programs facilities and strategic initiatives.
In the previous academic year 2016-2017 total fundraising was $12.3 million.
“We are proud of the fact that most of our giving comes from individuals and Arkansas Baptist churches” said Terry Griffin Peeples vice president for development at Ouachita. “But alumni support is vital. We want our alumni to be engaged and participate no matter what amount they are able to give.”
Ouachita’s success runs counter to national trends in higher education which has experienced a 25-year decline in the percentage of annual alumni giving. At Ouachita alumni giving slightly increased last year to 19.75 percent. The University has approximately 12700 alumni.
The median alumni giving percentage for private universities in 2017 was 17 percent. For public universities that number was 4.8 percent.
“We believe that our donors are responding favorably to the momentum we are enjoying here” Dr. Sells said. “Last fall we experienced a significant increase in freshmen were recognized for the highest graduation rate in the state and achieved a high placement rate for graduates. Our alumni students and friends are excited to see Ouachita on the rise and we are poised for continued growth.”
Last December Ouachita’s Board of Trustees adopted a five-year plan that includes six strategic directions: 1) Sustain Christ-Centered Identity 2) Advance Faculty/Staff Support 3) Ensure Transformative Learning 4) Grow Residential Learning 5) Diversify Educational Offerings and 6) Strengthen Key Partnerships.