The Campaign for UAB Surpasses Historic $1 Billion Goal

As 2018 comes to a close, the future of UAB is brighter—1 billion times brighter, in fact.

Ten years ago, UAB began a bold effort to raise $1 billion—the largest, most comprehensive campaign in the university’s history. Five years later, The Campaign for UAB: Give Something, Change Everything kicked off publicly.

Now, thanks to the overwhelming support of more than 103,000 donors, UAB has surpassed its ambitious goal with a total of $1,002,957,673 raised—all of which will advance the campaign’s priorities: facilities, faculty, research and innovation, student experience, athletics, and programmatic support.

President Ray L. Watts, M.D. announced the historic accomplishment at the Collat School of Business on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Green, gold, and white balloons rained from above and streamers rocketed through the two-story foyer where faculty, staff, students, and donors and friends gathered to hear the celebratory news.

“Throughout the Campaign for UAB, we have received overwhelming support and advocacy from donors, alumni, and friends,” says Watts. “The profound impact of their generosity is seen in every pillar of UAB’s mission and in every corner of our campus, as well as across our community and state, and indeed around the world. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to our friends — old and new — for their philanthropic support. We are also grateful for the leadership of our campaign co-chairs, Johnny Johns and Mike Warren, as well as our campaign executive committee and leadership cabinet.”

Here are just a few key moments and milestones throughout the Campaign:

The public phase of the campaign kicked off with a historic gift that created UAB’s first named school—the Collat School of Business—made by longtime supporters Charles Collat and his late wife, Patsy.

In August 2018, the new home for the Collat School of Business opened its doors on University Boulevard—one of several new on-campus facilities to open in 2018. The building also houses the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, established with the support of the Joy and Bill Harbert Foundation Inc. and Mike and Gillian Goodrich, to foster creativity, research, and innovation.

Throughout the campaign, the university endowment grew by more than $220 million. Part of that growth came from 33 new endowed chairs and 59 new endowed professorships, which were established to recruit top faculty to inspire students and lead in cutting-edge research. To attract and support deserving students, 211 endowed scholarships were created—some through the new Blazing the Way Scholarship Match Initiative.

"The Campaign for UAB may have come to a close, but we’re looking ahead to what we can achieve next—and because of the generosity of so many, we are positioned for even greater success as we look forward to the next 50 years."

- Tom Brannan, UAB Vice President for Advancement

Athletics received a record number of contributions during the campaign, with more than $50 million in support since 2015. This includes gifts to create a new football operations facility, a world-class track-and-field venue, and an expanded soccer stadium, as well as renovations to basketball and softball facilities.

Precision medicine is the future of health care, and thanks to a gift by the Hugh Kaul Foundation, the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute was established at UAB, as was an endowed chair held by Matt Might, Ph.D., a renowned leader in the field. He is leading UAB’s efforts to bring individualized care to the forefront of health, starting with rare diseases, drug therapy, and cancer. As precision medicine reshapes treatment, the Altec-Styslinger Genomic Medicine and Data Research Building—construction is scheduled to begin in 2019—will house scientists, advance technology, and create hundreds of new jobs.

The campaign closed in the same way its public phase kicked off—with a historic and transformational gift. O’Neal Industries and its shareholders made the largest single commitment in the history of UAB to name the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. This gift will transform cancer research and care for patients in Birmingham, throughout Alabama, and across the country.

Tom Brannan, vice president for advancement, notes that all five years of the public phase of the campaign saw record giving, with more than $100 million each year since 2014. “This is a reflection of the sustained and substantial support of so many donors and alumni, and I want to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to all who contributed,” he says.

As UAB is positioned to celebrate its 50th year of existence in 2019, the university is looking forward, Brannan adds. “The Campaign for UAB may have come to a close, but we’re looking ahead to what we can achieve next—and because of the generosity of so many, we are positioned for even greater success as we look forward to the next 50 years.”

Learn more about the impact of the Campaign for UAB, what we have achieved, and what’s next at

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