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UA Celebrates Historic Fundraising Year

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama set a fundraising record for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, raising almost $226 million in charitable gifts and pledges from nearly 60,000 donors.

The record-breaking fundraising year follows the one-year anniversary of the public launch of The Rising Tide Capital Campaign, a $1.5 billion effort to elevate all areas of campus—from student scholarships and faculty research to campus facilities and athletics. The Rising Tide, now beginning its seventh year of a 10-year campaign, has raised more than $1.16 billion to date.

“UA’s extraordinary fundraising success is a direct reflection of how our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends steadfastly support our mission and vision,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “Our stature as a leader in higher education continues to be enhanced by the generous philanthropy of our many stakeholders, and as a result, our students reap the rewards of the Alabama experience.”

This year’s record also brings UA’s five-year fundraising average to $205 million since 2018, which is double the average amount raised in the five years immediately prior to Bell’s arrival on campus in 2015.

Highlighting this year’s success was the Smith family’s $20 million gift commitment to the Performing Arts Academic Center, which will be named the Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts pending approval by the UA System Board of Trustees.

Fueled by four generations of love for the arts, the Smith family’s gift honors Mark Smith, co-founder of the global telecommunications company ADTRAN, who passed away in 2007.

“Our family’s passion for the arts goes back many generations,” said Mark’s son, Clay, who made the gift alongside his wife, Cameron, and his mother, Linda, a longtime resident of Huntsville. “Music and the arts have impacted our family tremendously. They defined my father, and they helped define me. To give back to the community in this way while honoring my dad’s memory is incredibly rewarding.”

The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts, which will connect to the restored Bryce Main, will house four new performance theatres for the department of theatre and dance as well as UA’s new Catherine and Pettus Randall Welcome Center in Bryce Main.

Several gifts made this year established new endowed chairs and professorships, a key goal of The Rising Tide. These prestigious faculty positions are crucial to recruiting top talent and fueling groundbreaking research, and UA’s goal is to create 75 new endowed faculty positions by The Rising Tide’s conclusion in 2026. In 2021-2022, five new chairs and professorships were committed across five academic departments, thanks to $3.6 million in contributions.

New endowed chairs and professorships committed in 2021-2022 include:

  • Robert and Laura Abernathy Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry
  • Bromberg Family Endowed Professorship in Marketing
  • Christian Mitchell Endowed Professorship in Real Estate
  • William B. Oakley Endowed Professorship in Information Technology
  • Sidney A. and Angela B. Tankersley Endowed Professorship in Metallurgical Engineering

Gifts made toward the 2022 Bama Blitz online crowdfunding campaign also played a role in the successful fundraising year. Bama Blitz also set a record this year, raising nearly $6.2 million in three days with 93% of gifts at $500 or less.

“We have truly incredible alumni and donors at The University of Alabama,” said Bob Pierce, vice president for advancement at UA. “To be at this point of The Rising Tide and to continue setting fundraising records is a testament to the dedication of our supporters and their passion for the Capstone. They are transforming the University and changing the lives of our students through their philanthropy.”


Deidre Stalnaker, UA director of communications, deidre.stalnaker@ua.edu