USF’s $300 million donation campaign is nearing completion

Drew Moss

Contributing Writer 

President Paul Fitzgerald addresses the crowd at Celebrate USF in October 2019. The event was the official kickoff for USF’s current $300 million capital campaign. Photo courtesy of USF Office of Marketing Communications

The Changing the World From Here Campaign, the largest in the history of the University, is inching closer to its goal of $300 million in donations, and is currently set to reach it. A little less than 27,000 donations have been made to USF since the campaign’s inception in 2019, totaling about $255 million. This money is meant to further develop the school with the expansion of programs, financial aid, and investment in the campus.  

The campaign has been in the works since 2014, as the organizers needed to carefully make decisions about where contributions would go. The $300 million goal, when reached, is set to be divided into three categories evenly: scholarships and financial aid, academic and co-curricular programs, and facilities improvement on campus.  The first two have already surpassed their goals by an extra $5 million each.  

More than 17,000 students have already benefited from the $105 million raised for financial aid since the campaign launched, according to an article from USF Magazine published in October 2019.  Since then, an additional investment of $1 million from donors has gone to the COVID-19 relief fund on top of regular scholarships, helping faculty adjust to distance learning, as well as meeting students’ basic needs such as rent, food, and transportation. Recently, the relief fund has risen to $1.55 million and will continue to help the USF community through the rest of the pandemic, according to the office of development.  

The second $105 million in donations for academic and co-curricular programs has also surpassed its donation goal. Most notably, the school is focusing on developing its new engineering program, with a state-of-the-art center known as the Innovation Hive which will be housed in a revamped Harney Science Center. Further expansion of the USF Honors College program is also expected to be bankrolled by this money.  

“Since launching in Fall 2018, the Honors College has grown in exciting ways. As of date, we have approximately 500 students enrolled in our curriculum. In Fall 2018 we offered 10 courses in our program and currently this spring we are offering 26 courses,” Monica Doblado, program manager for the Honors College, said. “Our administrative team has also grown as [we] welcomed a new Co-Director for the Honors College in fall 2020.”

The school also plans to further enhance the Black Achievement, Success and Engagement Initiative (BASE), which is set to offer courses that are both extracurricular and academic with a focus on issues that the Black community faces in life and education. This money will also help further enhance the Marshall-Riley Living-Learning Community, the Black Resource Center, and the Black Scholars Program.  

The third $100 million of the campaign’s budget will go towards the development of campus, some of which can already be seen in the newly constructed Wolf and Kettle Cafeteria on Lone Mountain, and the War Memorial Gym Sobrato Center complex, which is currently under construction. The Harney Science Center is scheduled to be updated for the school’s engineering program, in addition to a new biotech lab which is in the works.  

Donations for this part of the campaign have not yet met its goal — only around $42 million has been received thus far — but that has not been as much of an issue due to the delay in construction of the revamped Harney Science Center. Donations, when made, are dedicated to specific aspects of the campaign, and the emphasis on the growth of academic programs and scholarships has clearly been the priority for donors. Those involved with the campaign said they plan to continue accepting donations for campus development beyond its end date of May 31, 2022.  

The campaign changed leadership in February after Peter Wilch stepped down from his role as vice president for development to accept a job at fellow Jesuit college Loyola Marymount University. Former assistant dean Lindsey Mclenehan took his place Feb. 15, according to an email sent the week prior from President Paul Fitzgerald.

“I’ve been at USF for six and a half years, since the start of the campaign, and I have been excited to see how we have maintained momentum throughout,” Mclenehan said. “Our fiscal year started in the midst of COVID in June 2020. We have stayed on target to hit our campaign goals. Our donors have been generous and loyal and our students and faculty are incredibly grateful for the support.”

Drew Moss is a senior media studies major and Contributing Writer. He has covered University Life. He can be reached at or on Twitter @drewamoss.


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