COOKEVILLE – Officials announced Monday that Tennessee Tech University has set a new fundraising record for a single year with $22 million in gifts and commitments.
Among the highlights were two significant contributions: the Oakley Farm and the Cookeville Golf Club. Nearly $1 million was also raised for student scholarships, President Phil Oldham said.
“We are both honored and humbled by this outpouring from people who want to invest in both Tennessee Tech and our students,” he added. “These gifts help make it possible for students to obtain a valuable Tennessee Tech degree.”
Donors committed $22.45 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, more than doubling the previous record of $8.76 million in 2011. The total includes cash, gifts-in-kind, pledges and $13 million in new planned gifts, or when donors provide for long-term needs of the university and its programs through estate planning, bequests and charitable trusts. The 2011 total included only $280,000 in that latter sector.
“Private donors are extremely important to Tennessee Tech’s mission,” Kevin Braswell, vice president for university advancement, said. “With this record-breaking year, we see that more and more people are realizing that the university is a worthwhile place to invest their resources as a way to broaden their impact.”
The Oakley Farm, donated by Millard and J.J. Oakley, is home to one of the largest cattle herds in the state and, dating back to 1792, is listed as a centennial pioneer farm. The Cookeville Golf Club, donated by Lanny Dunn, is an 18-hole golf course; this gift makes Tennessee Tech the only public university in the state to own a golf course.
The Upper Cumberland Business Journal honored Dunn with a 2016 Ovation Award for his particular contribution.
“Running a golf course is just like any other business, you have peaks and valleys, and certainly the golf industry has changed a lot in the last 15 years,” he said. “I didn’t think, as an owner, I could do it as much justice as somebody like Tech can do. I think it stands the best chance to remain a golf course for a real long time (with Tech).”
The university received 9,536 gifts, with 61 percent coming from alumni. Cash gifts totaled more than $3.6 million, with $962,258 of that amount going to student scholarships.