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Thank you, Longhorns

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You made this year’s 40 Hours for the Forty Acres one for the books. Together we raised $391,009, more than two and a half times our $140,000 goal. Students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends joined forces to benefit areas of importance to them across the Forty Acres. In short, it was a Texas-size success.

“At the end of the 40 hours, more than 2,400 of you had given to deserving programs all across our campus,” says UT President Bill Powers. “I’m heartened by the support you continue to show for UT, and I’m especially proud of those students who made their first gift. Once again you have risen to the challenge. Thank you for your generosity.”

In the spirit that every gift counts, participation spanned the campus. While larger colleges and schools with more students and alumni naturally raised more in terms of dollars, the level of involvement in many of the smaller schools was impressive.

The School of Nursing raised $12,875 — more than four times last year’s total — from 161 donors when students, faculty, and staff each exceeded their funding goals. Late in the afternoon of April 9, Dean Alexa K. Stuifbergen was so proud of her students and their enthusiasm that she committed to donate an additional $5 for each one who gave before the 8 p.m. deadline.

“You should have seen the students shaking change out of the bottom of their backpacks and pockets when she told them that!” says Andria Brannon, the school’s director of development.

Now that the 2015 edition of 40 for Forty has concluded, here are some figures illustrating the scope of the effort and why it was such a success:

  • Emails and social media played a crucial role. Emails alone brought in $99,567 directly. The student-staffed UT Call Center continued to be important to the effort as well, accounting for $37,315 in donations. The two largest gifts made were via email and phone, which brought in one $10,000 donation apiece.
  • The final tally of donors was 2,461. Of the 1,811 who gave last year, 323 chose to do so this year again. That is an 18 percent retention rate and is considered excellent for a campaign of this type.
  • The McCombs School of Business was the top performer among colleges and schools, raising $36,135. Rounding out the top five were the College of Natural Sciences at $29,924, the School of Law at $23,170, the Dell Medical School at $20,169, and the School of Undergraduate Studies at $17,500.
  • The “University’s area of greatest need” option also proved popular with donors, garnering $26,065 from those who wanted to help advance UT in a more general way. Likewise the Texas Exes, which brought in $17,338.

Thirty-eight student organizations participated directly, running the gamut from the Communication Council and Voices Against Violence to clubs for ballroom dancing enthusiasts and rock climbers. Many of the organizations staffed tables on the Main Mall to make it easy for students, faculty, and staff to give in person.

Michael Sulkis, a mechanical engineering sophomore and the vice president of Texas Rock Climbing, told the Daily Texan the club is hoping to cover expenses for an upcoming team trip. “Our national championship this year is in San Diego. Every dollar that we can raise through events like this will help send more climbers to our competition and have a stronger representation of the team.”

Finally and with great appreciation, we wish to recognize the generosity of our Longhorn Leaders, whose leadership-level gifts to support 40 Hours for the Forty Acres served as an inspiration to others.

Did you miss the April 8–9 event? Don’t wait until next year — it’s always the right time to show your Longhorn pride.

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