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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Purdue University spends $576,778 on party for donors

Purdue Party

WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue University officials celebrated the end of a major fundraising campaign by spending more than half a million dollars – part of which came from campaign contributions – to throw a party for donors.\nThe bill for the June 30 event totaled $576,778, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported Friday. About half the bill was paid by the Purdue Research Foundation. The rest was covered by money raised during the school’s Campaign for Purdue, which brought in $1.7 billion in contributions over the past seven years.\nOn the invite list were about 650 donors who give at least $1,000 a year to the university, said Joe Bennett, vice president for university relations.\nSome think the party marking the end of the campaign was too expensive.\n“That seems like a big waste,” said David Hoover, a junior studying actuarial science at Purdue. “Pay for renovations to some of these buildings. A lot of the buildings need it.”\nThe money Purdue spent on the party could have paid for tuition for 81 students for one year, the salaries of six average full-time faculty members for a year, or the average debt of 30 graduating seniors.\nBennett said the event had to be upscale to properly thank contributors, many of whom donated more than $1 million.\n“It’s part of what you do to raise money at that kind of level,” Bennett said. “That’s what the people who made contributions to us deserved.”\nBennett told The Associated Press Friday that the university typically spends between 7 percent and just over 10 percent of money raised on fundraising overhead costs, and that the average cost for the Campaign for Purdue was about 8.5 percent.\n“We spent less than a dime to raise a dollar,” he said, adding that Purdue spends less on fundraising overhead than many other universities.\nErik Hanson, a philosophy graduate student, said Purdue has to treat donors right if it wants to continue fundraising on such a large scale.\n“If throwing a big party for donors will help increase donor support, sometimes that’s what you have to do,” Hanson said.\nThe event was held at the Mollenkopf Athletic Center, so stages, lighting, audio and other equipment had to be brought in and set up there. Student singers and musicians weren’t available during the summer, so professionals were hired. The university hired an event planning company to bring in food, entertainment and decorations.\nTickets to the event brought in $15,826 – money that went toward event expenses.\nFaculty Senate President George Bodner said it’s difficult to determine the appropriate amount to pay for events thanking donors.\n“I hate to say this is the best way of spending it, but sometimes you have to say thank you in an appropriate manner,” Bodner said.

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