Texas A&M University announced that it took in a record-breaking $740 million in donations and pledges last fiscal year.
The amount is nearly $300 million higher than A&M's previous top year, and officials boast it is the highest amount ever raised by a Texas university.
The amount dwarfs the preliminary $453 million reported by the University of Texas during the same period, the previous best in the state.
The figure captures the period between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31. The $740-plus million includes approximately $97.5 million in private grants to the Division of Research, $351 million to the Texas A&M Foundation, $14 million to The Association of Former Students, $6 million to the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and $271.5 million to the 12th Man Foundation, the latter of which is hosting a herculean effort to finance a $450 million upgrade to Kyle Field.
Gee, we wonder if any of this is related to Johnny Manziel and the success of the football program? Probably just circumstantial. Or ...
A&M System Chancellor John Sharp made the A&M announcement in an email to donors on Saturday. He attributed the success to the university's move from the Big XII to the Southeastern Conference and a government contract to develop vaccines in College Station. ... Davis said the giving was one of the greatest hauls he had seen in his 20 years with the Texas A&M Foundation.
"I think it's noteworthy," Davis said. "Normally, we don't spend a lot of time beating our chest with things like this, but this year has been rather spectacular."
He, too, credited much of the overall fundraising success to Texas A&M football and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
"People ask me all the time if you have a winning football team, do you raise more money," Davis said. "In normal times, the statistical data wouldn't support that, but in an era where we are in, effectively, in the news everywhere and you have a young man like our quarterback who has been a media magnet and you have the success you have, I do think that euphoria does spill over into success in fundraising. I'm hoping we can keep it up."
Comparatively, A&M raised $207 million in 2008, $187 million in 2009, $212 million in 2010, $184 million in 2011 and $181 million in 2012, according to the survey.
Keep this in mind as the Gophers attempt to raise $190 million for a massive athletics facilities upgrade.