University Secures Record-Breaking External Funding

By | May 15, 2024

Beauty shot of entrance to Daemen UniversityDaemen University secured nearly $10 million in external funding so far during the 2023-2024 fiscal year – a record-breaking amount for the institution – including three of the largest donations in the institution’s history. 

“This is a new level of excellence for Daemen,” said President Gary A. Olson. “I want to thank all of you who have helped make this a banner year for external funding. The whole university owes you a debt of gratitude.”

President Olson said the university has brought in between $1 and $3 million annually over the last dozen years of funding, occasionally reaching $4 million as seen during the first-ever comprehensive campaign held during the 2022-2023 fiscal year. 

Historic Donations 

Driving the record-breaking external funding were three historic donations by members of the Daemen Board of Trustees. 

In July, Chairman John R. Yurtchuk committed $2 million to the President’s Excellence Fund, which ensures the university’s continued vibrancy and long-term stability. In recognition of  Yurtchuk’s decade of service to Daemen and continued generosity, the Wick Center was officially renamed the John R. Yurtchuk Student Center. 

Meanwhile, Paul Saffrin, the vice chair of the Board of Trustees, donated the funds to transform the large parking lot between the Duns Scotus and the Yurtchuk Center into a traditional campus quad. The ribbon was cut on the newly constructed Saffrin Public Square in September.  

A generous gift from board member Scott Bieler is providing financial support for health professions students and funding for state-of-the-art technology in the Scott Bieler College of Health Professions.

Day of Giving

Daemen University’s eighth annual Day of Giving on Thursday, April 18, 2024, set new records for money raised and the number of donors, with 975 supporters donating $153,841. 

Funds raised during the 24-hour campaign will support student scholarships, the President’s Excellence Fund, athletics teams, facility enhancements, and more. 

The goal for this year’s Day of Giving was $100,000.

“We are sincerely grateful for the generous donors who stepped up to help us not only meet our goal this year but to greatly surpass it,” said Dr. Mario Hicks, the vice president for institutional advancement. “The record-breaking fundraiser raised critical dollars for our students during a critical time for higher education. A heartfelt thanks to all.” 

The Future of Higher Education

Daemen saw healthy enrollment numbers at its Amherst and Brooklyn campuses this past year, and recruitment for the fall looks promising.  

However, that is expected to change with the looming enrollment cliff in higher education, which will see 400,000 fewer college-aged students starting in 2025 – making external funding much more important for small, private institutions like Daemen. 

There are several ways to donate to ensure the university meets current and future goals. 

Saffrin Public Square Campaign 

While the Saffrin Public Square is already being enjoyed by the students, faculty and staff, and the greater community, work still needs to be finished. Daemen is in the campaign’s final phase to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the project. 

Saffrin Public Square features vibrant green space, three dozen mature trees, new lighting, and plenty of outdoor furniture on the brick patio. At the center of the quad sits a stunning new granite fountain from Italy. 

“This project has already been transformational for the university,” Dr. Olson said. “It alters the look and feel of the entire campus, makes the college much more of a traditional pedestrian

campus, creates a distinctly safer environment for our students, and substantially enhances our recruitment efforts.”

Gross anatomy lab renderingGross Anatomy Lab

The gross anatomy lab is undergoing a major renovation, paving the way for a state-of-the-art facility for students in the health science professions. 

“Daemen University is embarking on a groundbreaking venture – a cutting-edge gross anatomy lab,” said Dr. Greg Ford, the founding dean of the Scott Bieler College of Health Professions.

“PA and PT students will benefit tremendously from a completely renovated lab that will not only inspire learning, but its innovative design will promote student academic success.” 

The project includes new cadaver dissection tables with operatory LED lights above each, operating room-style epoxy flooring, a graduate study lounge, and much more. 

The cost is estimated at $750,000 with $125,000 in funding needed to complete the project. 

You can learn more about donating by visiting the Daemen University website at