Wednesday, February 7, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 91



Number of donations to UH drops

UH Board of Regents meeting covers fiscal and image issues 

By Ken Fountain
Senior Staff Writer

The recent downturn in the stock market has contributed to a negative impact of nearly $7.5 million in private gifts to the UH System since the last fiscal year, said Kathy Stafford, vice chancellor for University Advancement.

During Tuesday's meeting of the UH System Board of Regents, Stafford said that in the 2001 fiscal year to date, the system has received $12,356,875 in total gifts and private grants. During the same period last year, the system received $19,852,007, a decrease of 37.75 percent.

"I would like to assure you that I don't think that means anything particularly significant," Stafford said.

She explained that most of variance is due to "timing issues," meaning that last year, the main campus received several very large gifts from John and Rebecca Moores, C.T. "Ted" Bauer and the Conrad Hilton Foundation. She said that a gift from the Moores is expected and should offset some of the difference.

However, the decline of the stock market and the resulting impact on individuals' stock portfolios is likely to make them less generous in the short term, Stafford said.

She said the ongoing library endowment campaign and other pending proposals should help the system achieve its attainment goals before the year is out.

"I believe we're in good shape," she said.

In other business, Stafford pointed to favorable results from a tracking study of the effectiveness of the year-old UH "Learning, Leading" advertising campaign, which she said were "very encouraging."

The study, conducted in October and November 2000 by the advertising firm McCann-Erickson, found that the campaign was making a positive impact on key target groups, which include corporation executives, human resource managers of Houston employers, community leaders, UH faculty and staff, alumni and students.

"Almost half of the community leaders and a quarter of the senior executives and human resources directors were aware of the campaign," Stafford said. "And of those who cited the campaign, over two-thirds of the community leaders and faculty and staff, and one-half of the alumni and key executives played back key messages from the campaign."

She added that the advertising agency said a 25 percent recall rate after the first year would have been considered very good.

The research also showed that around 55 percent of community leaders, key executives and human resource directors, and about 70 percent of alumni, ranked the University as "excellent" in faculty and programs, contributions to the Houston community economy, and quality of graduates, she said.

"The one concern I have about the numbers relates to our faculty and their perception of the quality of our programs," Stafford said. 

The study also showed that only 52 to 56 percent of faculty and staff respondents ranked UH highly in the "image attributes" of the quality of education offered, the quality of the faculty and the quality of the academic programs.

"I think we have some work to do there. I think it does suggest that we have something of an inferiority complex," Stafford said.

The meeting also included presentations from Joe Pratt, executive director of the UH Scholars' Community, on the program's increasing success in helping UH assimilate and retain first-time freshman students.

Ann McDonald, UH-Downtown's dean of Student Affairs, along with two UH-D students, also gave a presentation of the campus' new student-friendly Web site.

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