Scholarship fund reaches new heights
By Phil Stukenborg, Commercial Appeal
June 23, 2007
The University of Memphis athletic department is expected to set a record for donations to its Tiger Scholarship Fund, surpassing last year's record of $5 million.
The TSF, the fund-raising arm for the athletic department, reached its longtime goal of $5 million last year, but could approach $6 million when figures are announced next month. A re-seating at FedExForum for the Tiger basketball program -- coming off consecutive Elite Eight appearances and expected to be ranked in the preseason top five -- has contributed to increased donations.
''We budgeted $5.2 million (in donations) for 2007, but we are going to surpass that,'' said Bill Landsen, UofM associate athletic director/development. ''We'll be setting a new record, although I'm not sure what it will be.''
After last year's record donation total, athletic director R.C. Johnson, who set the $5 million bar when he was hired 11 years ago, said $6 million would be the next benchmark.
''I don't have a tally, but we're having phenomenal success with our (TSF) renewals and with new members,'' Johnson said. ''We wanted 500 new members, and we have surpassed that.
''As for our donations, the goal was $5.2 million. I feel confident we'll make that, which will be another all-time record. The goal has always been to offset scholarship costs.''
Johnson said each percentage point increase in tuition translates to about $52,000 in scholarship costs. Tuition has increased in recent years by about five percent annually.