Law School Endowment Ranks High – But Financial Base Needs Expansion
In its 2002 annual report on American law schools’ financial support, the American Bar Association indicates the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s endowment ranks #6 among public universities and #21 among public/private schools. There are 182 law schools in the United States. “Our ranking as one of the top endowed public law schools is of tremendous importance to our national reputation,” says Dean Jon Mills. “It projects an image of financial strength. However, considering the impact of current and proposed state budget cuts, we must be vigilant and continue to seek ways to operate more efficiently. We must also build up our existing funding sources and instill within our students the importance of their future commitment to the college’s long-term financial success.” Mills explained that the law school’s $64 million endowment is a long-term investment, the principal of which remains in perpetuity. It is managed by the University of Florida Foundation. At this time it is generating an annual income of approximately 5 percent, or $3.2 million. “The $3.2 million from the endowment is put toward our annual budget – which for 2001-2002 totals about $23 million – and supports important programs and initiatives including professorships and scholarships,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mike Seigel. It is important to understand that less than half of the annual income received from the endowment – or $1.3 million – can be used in a discretionary manner by the dean and administration. The remaining $2 million is restricted according to terms set by the school’s original agreements with the donors and is used each year for specific chairs, student scholarships, student activities and other specified items. The most significant gift to the endowment was contributed in 2000 by Pensacola attorney Fredric G. Levin. His $10 million gift was matched by the state, resulting in $20 million toward endowment funds. “It’s understandable the endowment amount and success of the recent building campaign may have created a false sense of security among our potential and existing donors,” says Director of Development and Alumni Affairs Donald Hale. “We want our supporters to understand how critical continued donations are to sustain the performance and solid reputation of the college.” The endowment provides one of the college’s main funding sources. Another is the Annual Fund — a general giving category that supports many student and faculty activities and is central to the law school’s success. In 2001 the Annual Fund raised approximately $334,000. Funds also are raised for capital improvement projects such as the recent building campaign and other special projects. For information: Hale, Director of Development & Alumni Affairs (392.9296 or www.law.ufl.edu/ alumniaffairs.