After more than three years of planning, UF will kick off its $3 billion fundraising mission with a night of celebration.
The kickoff, which is Friday in the O’Connell Center at 7:30 p.m., will feature different vignettes focusing on UF’s strengths and examples of work, said Joe Mandernach, the senior associate vice president and chief development officer of the University Alumni Association.
Mandernach said the campaign kickoff is about honoring UF’s achievements and thanking donors.
“It’s a celebration of the University of Florida,” he said. “A campaign isn’t a campaign for a campaign’s sake, a campaign is to help the university achieve what it’s set out to do.”
Mandernach said they hope to raise the $3 billion by 2022 and have currently raised $1.35 billion since July of 2014.
“The fact we recently became top 10 obviously doesn’t stop anything,” he said. “If anything it gives us more momentum to push forward.”
He said UF celebrities will make guest appearances. All students are invited to attend the event.
“Students are the key to this, because one of the things we want to do is really generate a lot of excitement and enthusiasm as if to capture UF’s momentum,” he said. “Nobody does that better than students.”
Courtney Spillman, a 21-year-old UF chemistry junior, will perform with the UF Fightin' Gator Marching Band on Friday.
Spillman said she’s excited for the event and hopes the proceeds raised go to a good cause.
“It’s going to be a great effort from the university to hopefully improve things around campus,” she said. “I’m hoping some of the funding will go toward old buildings like the Music Building and Norman Hall.”