Editorial: Finding balance for University donations across colleges

Over the past month or so, our staff has been sifting through numbers to create the annual Salary Guide, and in the process we stumbled upon a lot of interesting figures. One of the most surprising however, was the distribution of donations made to the University in the past year.

As of June 30 — the end of fiscal year 2015 — the College of Engineering raked in $31,579,766.11 in donations. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics was a close second at $28,215,100.72. ACES was the next college in line. The college received $13,515,808.65 in fiscal year 2015 — nearly $20,000,000 less in donations than Engineering.

Sure, we could argue that we would like to see donations made more evenly across the board but perhaps the University is already headed in that direction.

In fiscal year 2014, the University raised $52,840,370.19 in donations for Engineering. While 2015’s gap between Engineering and ACES seems large, it was bigger in fiscal year 2014, when only $11,764,894.48 was raised for ACES — this is $2 million less than this year’s amount.

ACES isn’t the only campus college getting more attention. Donations to Media increased by about $2 million and donations to LAS increased by about $1 million. And we hope this trend continues.

We have an excellent Engineering program at the University and we believe that deserves donations and funding. But we also have amazing agricultural programs, phenomenal MCB paths and we’ll even go as far as to say we’re pretty big fans of the University’s Media programs. So, we’re glad those programs are receiving more funding and we’d like them to continue getting more attention and funds.

Donations across colleges are never going to be equal. And they shouldn’t be. Some colleges aren’t as big, others don’t need as much funding. But if the University of Illinois Foundation, the department responsible for fundraising here, could keep raising donations across the board, the whole campus would benefit.

A thriving campus is one where students and faculty in every major have ample resources. Everybody should be able to feel as though their major impacts the campus in a positive way.

Complaints that the University only cares about Engineering and Business are probably unfounded, but the difference in donations makes it hard to argue otherwise.

The increases in the past year have us hopeful for the future.