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TUKS Embarks on Global Alumni Engagement for Enhanced Funding and Support

Published February 28, 2024
4 months ago

The University of Pretoria (UP), a prestigious South African institution and a notable player in veterinary science, is strategically expanding its financial sustainability by reaching out to its extensive global alumni network. TUKS has taken cues from the philanthropic successes of US universities, seeking to encourage its former students to contribute financially via new foundations established in key countries.

Financial sustainability is crucial for institutions like UP, as government grants diminish and tuition fee increases are capped. The university's innovative approach, initiated about two years ago, is multifaceted. It involves the creation of a financial sustainability plan aimed at harnessing the support of its 300,000 strong alumni, many of whom have settled abroad.

Developing a robust alumni network is no small feat, yet UP has already made significant strides. The US Foundation is three years deep, tackling the administrative groundwork to ensure compliance with local legislation. The recently launched UK Foundation presents another avenue for UP graduates to give back financially to their alma mater, supporting the university through improved revenue streams.

In addition to funding, TUKS alumni are encouraged to provide valuable networks and connections to potential funders across the globe. From introductions to trustees and financial institutions to mentorships and internship offerings for current students, alumni involvement transcends monetary donations. Tax incentives and matching giving schemes in the US also appeal to potential donors, making philanthropy mutually beneficial and fostering a culture of giving back.

A significant portion of the funds raised through these initiatives is earmarked for 'missing middle' students, who fall between the cracks of existing financial aid programs. These students, often from families of public servants like nurses or police officers, find it increasingly challenging to afford tertiary education. While the South African government is rolling out a new scheme to support these students, UP's efforts provide immediate relief.

Besides financial contributions, UP alumni play a significant role in advising university management through the Convocation Board. This group of accomplished professionals from various sectors proffers guidance and insight to steer the university toward continued excellence.

The international impact of TUKS researchers has not gone unnoticed, with significant achievements in veterinary science capturing global headlines. This not only highlights UP's academic prowess but also emphasizes the broader societal contributions of its graduates.

As the university plans to expand its foundation network to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, and African countries, it remains cognizant of the regulatory and social landscapes in which it seeks to operate. Each step forward is taken with thorough research and consideration for the receptiveness of the overseas alumni base.

Facing the challenges of turmoil on campus, UP mirrors societal issues and steers through the rough waters of socio-economic instability. The university's steadfast commitment to completing academic years, despite challenges, upholds its reputation as a world-class institution that continues to attract international students, researchers, and funding.

The story of UP is one of resilience and innovation. As the university broadens its horizons and leverages its alumni network's immense potential, the power of a well-connected and engaged former student body cannot be underestimated in ensuring the financial sustainability and socio-economic contributions of one of South Africa's top research universities.

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