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Renato Fitzpatrick.

Renato Fitzpatrick, B.E.E. '04, has been seen by many in the Twin Cities and on the Web. His photo is featured in an ad campaign encouraging alumni to make a gift to their alma mater.

A cause unlike any other

Worthy causes abound, but only one provided the education that helped shape your future

From M, summer 2006

The numbers are encouraging: a 20 percent increase in alumni donors in the past three years, an 8 percent increase in alumni donors who are in the baby boomer generation, and an impressive 51 percent jump in contributions from young alumni (ages 23-28). But even with the boost of recent giving, the University of Minnesota still ranks in the lower half of the Big Ten in alumni giving back. In light of its funding needs and plan to become a top-three public research university, the U hopes to increase alumni involvement, connection, and giving. "Becoming one of the best in the world requires a commitment from everyone associated with the University," says President Bob Bruininks. "Faculty, staff, and students will be engaged like never before. Alumni support will be critical." This spring, a new advertising campaign kicked off in the Twin Cities and on the Web to fuel the effort and remind alumni of the important role their alma mater has played in their lives. Alumni gifts of all sizes are used to raise academic quality and fund scholarships that attract top students, regardless of their financial situation. Alumni can designate that gifts be used for the college or department they care about most, or for the general scholarship fund that helps students across the University. And there's strength in numbers. Last year, some 3,000 alumni came together to create a new scholarship fund for students in the College of Liberal Arts. Their combined gifts built a $250,000 endowed scholarship fund, which qualified for a match. Now, $25,000 will be available each year to help CLA undergrads well into the future. To help meet the Transforming the U goals and to improve the U's ranking in Big Ten alumni donors, it needs more graduates giving back. As you consider your charitable contributions, remember: There are many causes to give to, but only one is your alma mater.