Ouachita Baptist University set a record for private donations raised in the 2017-2018 academic year. The Arkadelphia-based private school said it raised $17.2 million last year, more than $1 million higher than its previous record.
Of the $17.2 million given, 58% is in the form of cash and pledges, according to OBU. The remaining 42% is in realized estate bequests. The bulk of the funds, approximately $12 million, will be applied to annual and endowed student scholarships. The remainder is earmarked for programs, facilities and strategic initiatives.
“We are fortunate to work with alumni, friends and churches who believe in, and give so generously in support of, the mission and vision of Ouachita,” said Dr. Ben Sells, OBU president. “Our donors appreciate our success in developing leaders in so many walks of life and extend our impact around the world.”
In the previous academic year, 2016-2017, total fundraising was $12.3 million.
The school said its success runs counter to national trends in higher education, which has experienced a 25-year decline in the percentage of annual alumni giving. At Ouachita, alumni giving slightly increased last year to 19.75%. The university has approximately 12,700 alumni.
“We believe that our donors are responding favorably to the momentum we are enjoying here,” said Sells. “Last fall, we experienced a significant increase in freshmen, were recognized for the highest graduation rate in the state and achieved a high placement rate for graduates. Our alumni, students and friends are excited to see Ouachita on the rise, and we are poised for continued growth.”