Nearly 800 of the university's closest friends, alumni, donors, community leaders, distinguished faculty and students joined together recently in celebration of Changing Worlds: The Campaign for UNM – an eight-year, $675 million campaign, which began in 2006 and plans to conclude in 2014, complimenting UNM's 125th anniversary. To date, nearly 50,000 donors have given more than $380 million in support of the university's mission.

"This campaign is about people," said UNM President David Schmidly. "It's about the students, faculty, staff, patients and donors. It's about taking pride in connecting with something exceptional. This campaign is about changing lives."

Reflecting university priorities, the campaign is raising support for student success and opportunity; faculty support and research; campus programs; and capital projects and facilities. Since the campaign's inception, donors have established 290 new endowments that are currently valued at more than $58 million. These endowments range from faculty chairs and professorships, to academic programs and graduate and undergraduate scholarships. The University's Presidential Scholarship Program, just one of the many avenues donors can choose to support student success through scholarships, currently has 440 scholars supported by approximately 250 donors.

UNM Foundation Trustee, Campaign Committee Trustee Member, alumnus and presidential scholar sponsor Michael Emerson is a strong proponent of the campaign.

"This campaign underscores the significant impact the university has in so many communities throughout the state," he said. "It's a great feeling knowing you are helping students reach their true potential. I'm honored to be part of it and I encourage everyone I can to participate in this worthwhile endeavor. "

The Campaign for UNM is a comprehensive campaign, which is not to be confused with a capital campaign, according to UNM Foundation President Henry Nemcik.

"This support reaches far beyond the traditional capital or ‘bricks and mortar' campaign," Nemcik said. "We have ample opportunities throughout the University, and we endeavor to match each donor's passion with the most rewarding and meaningful investment. Donors are creating scholarships; addressing critical and emerging research opportunities; improving vital medical education, care, and research; and creating endowments that will attract and reward renowned faculty members for years to come. Improving our facilities is just part of the vision."

Campaigns of this caliber are usually done in phases, according to Nemcik. For the past four years, during the quiet phase, UNM fund-raising efforts have been directly aligned with UNM goals. The UNM Foundation then entered a public phase, in which the university garnered volunteer support from alumni, donors and community leaders. This event marks the half-way point and formal public celebration of the campaign.

Changing Worlds: the Campaign for UNM is the most recent of three fund-raising campaigns the university has conducted in its history. In 1985, the university raised more than $6 million during a campaign themed "You make all the difference!" From 1989 to 1994, UNM conducted its Centennial Campaign - "Shaping Our Future, Now" - which raised $101 million. While both of these campaigns were successful, they pale in comparison with the university's current campaign, which just half way through has garnered more than three times the support raised by the previous two campaigns combined.

"This is the largest campaign in the history of New Mexico higher education, and quite fitting for our state's flagship research university," said Schmidly. "At its heart, this is a celebration of all those connected to our university who, through their teaching, research, patient care and financial support, help to change the worlds of our students, citizens and communities for the better."

For more information visit: Changing Worlds: The Campaign for UNM.

Media contact: Chris Elliott (505) 277-3415; e-mail: