UCF raised $104 million in endowments for the 2010 fiscal year

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., but UCF beat both the Crimson and Yale in racking up the most endowments for the 2010 fiscal year.

Last week, the UCF Foundation announced the school earned a 12.5 percent return on endowment investments, while Harvard’s yielded 11 percent and Yale’s brought back 8.9 percent.

“The fact that donors are contributing more to our annual campaign is a testament to the quality of our students and our academic programs,” said Bob Holmes, CEO of the UCF Foundation. “We are thankful for our donors’strong commitment to supporting our students in our classrooms and research laboratories and on our athletic fields.”

UCF’s endowments, which were valued at $104 million, are used to fund various academic programs and student scholarships.

“When you look at the fact that we’re just now starting to come out of one of the worst recessions ever, the investment decisions are starting to pay off,” said Grant Heston, assistant vice president of UCF News & Information.

The $104 million is a 37 percent increase from the $76 million earned in February 2009, the fund’s lowest point. Heston said that where the school is now is a credit to the leadership of the university.

“We’re always evaluating where we are, where we might want to go and what’s the best route to get there,” Heston said.

The foundation, UCF’s official fundraising branch, is hoping to further increase donations for the 2011 fiscal year, which started in July. As of November, more than $3 million has been donated to the school.

“We are encouraging our donors to reach out to UCF with their support in 2011, and we look forward to building on our successes,” Holmes said.

Annual gifts that are made to the school can be for a particular program, college, department or a program to aid students who are the first member in their family to go to college.

By Katie Kustura, News Editor for the Central Florida Future