The University of Georgia may be losing one of its key fund-raisers, but President Jere Morehead isn't waiting for a replacement before gearing up a major capital campaign.
During his monthly media briefing, Morehead said a $1 billion capital campaign has already begun, well ahead of the June 2014 retirement of Tom Landrum, the vice president for development and alumni relations. The campaign is in the silent phase right now and will continue for another seven or eight years, a typical time span for such undertakings.
A search is underway for Landrum's replacement. Landrum has worn many hats during his 40 years of service at UGA, moving from the public relations office to the President's office and then, a vice presidency.
Morehead said UGA needs to focus on building its endowment. The school is ranked 20th by U.S. News and World Report for public universities, but its institutional endowment is 98th. UGA has 280,000 alumni, but alumni giving has fallen in the past few years.
The university has relied on the generosity of the state in the past, while other institutions, such as Georgia Tech, built their endowments, which has given them more flexibility in recent years. UGA needs to raise money for need-based scholarships to help recruit the best and brightest students and for more chaired and named professorships to attract top faculty, Morehead said.
He wants the development office to put out a consistent message about the needs of the university to alumni and UGA supporters. Compared to other universities of similar size, Georgia has a small development office.
"We want to reach more people who can make a difference for the University of Georgia," Morehead said.