Two hired to help raise funds for Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Two hired to help raise funds for Carle Illinois College of Medicine

URBANA — Two new University of Illinois advancement officers are on board helping to raise money for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, which found itself behind fundraising earlier this year.

The campus has also pitched in $363,000 this year to help cover the 32 full-tuition scholarships awarded to the medical school's first class, UI officials said.

The engineering-based medical school, which opened in July, was designed to be privately funded. The Carle Health System is carrying the financial load initially, pledging $100 million over its first 10 years, as well as $1.5 million annually for operating costs.

But last spring, UI officials said the university was about $25 million behind its target in an eight-year, $135 million fundraising plan to support the medical school. The UI had raised $20 million at that point, but administrators had hoped to have $44.8 million in gifts and pledges by then, according to the agreement signed with Carle in August 2015.

The school has since brought in more, but its endowment isn't generating as much income as planned for the medical school's operating budget.

So the campus pledged up to $25 million over 10 years to cover any shortfall, using money from a discretionary fund available to the chancellor for campus academic priorities. It's made up of endowment income, private gifts and research grants, among other sources, not state funding or tuition income, officials said.

The campus had already provided nearly $15 million last year for the renovation of the Medical Sciences Building for the new medical school, said Paul Ellinger, associate chancellor and vice provost for budget and resource planning. And it will support library costs for the medical school starting this year, which will total $4.91 million through fiscal 2025, Ellinger said.

Any additional campus support required will be provided from the chancellor's discretionary funding, he said.

That funding is being used to pay for 14 of the 32 scholarships for the first-year class, according to Barry Benson, vice chancellor for advancement. The other 18 are being covered by gifts and other private support, he said.

The amount needed from the campus over the next three years will vary, depending on how much is raised to support the four-year scholarships, but the total won't exceed $1.4 million, Ellinger said.

Administrators said they remain committed to the overall $135 million fundraising goal but couldn't achieve it in the current time frame, which is why they decided to hire more advancement officers.

The medical school has hired UI alumna Jessica Breitbarth as associate dean for advancement. And the campus recruited a new associate vice chancellor, Paulanne Jushkevich, to coordinate fundraising for all health sciences, including the medical school as well as the Beckman Institute, a new Cancer Center, the College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Applied Health Sciences and specific research initiatives, Benson said.

"Certainly, as we look forward to the next strategic plan, building a more robust health science program on campus is a component to that strategy, and we're doing our best to support that," Benson said, noting that many of the UI's peers have a similar strategy.

Salaries for the two advancement positions were not available Wednesday.

The College of Medicine has received $3 million in additional private support since last spring, bringing its fundraising total to $23 million, Benson said.

That includes a $2 million gift from the H.D. Smith Foundation, part of a larger $20 million donation to the UI that included $15 million for the new Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center and $3 million for scholarships for former UI athletes to return to campus and complete their degrees. Mr. Smith, who died in 2015, was chairman and CEO of the Springfield-based wholesale drug distribution company H.D. Smith Co.

Benson said the medical school has also received another $1 million in commitments for medical school scholarships, separate from the $23 million. Those agreements have yet to be signed, he said.