He’s Got Answers

Outgoing University Relations Vice President Timothy L. O'Malley, PhD


On July 1, 2010, Leading Change: The Campaign for USD was launched under the direction of President Mary E. Lyons and Board Chair Ron Fowler. The behind-the-scenes work and fundraising was led by Vice President for University Relations Timothy L. O’Malley, PhD, who arrived on campus in 2006 and took the campaign public in February 2016, having raised $207 million of the $300 million goal.

USD exceeded its goal substantially, successfully concluding the university’s most ambitious fundraising effort. As Dr. O’Malley heads into retirement and USD plans a campaign celebration to thank its donors, we sat down with the vice president who helped make it all happen.

Q: Tell us about the excitement you felt taking on this monumental endeavor.

A: This was my chance to lead the largest campaign I’d ever had the opportunity to participate in. I knew that we could be successful and took a lot of encouragement from the progress that had already been made. I knew this would be an opportunity for me to complete my fundraising career at an institution that had the ability to mount the largest campaign in its history.

Q: What were the major goals that inspired USD to take on this effort?

A: The campaign was designed to support students and to benefit the student experience. The initiatives we thought would do that included providing financial aid support for students directly, ensuring a robust endowment and enhancing the campus with identified needs that would directly benefit students.

Q: Over the course of the campaign, USD was able to raise $35.6 million to establish 233 new scholarships. Can you talk about the importance of scholarships at USD?

A: With the rising cost of education, it’s incumbent upon us to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of a college education on students and their families. The only way to do that is to make financial aid more readily available to families who qualify. This goes to our ability to create a more diverse and inclusive student body, and also to address the debt that today’s college students are accumulating prior to graduation.

Q: As we celebrate the campaign, what efforts stood out to you as particularly special?

A: We’re very proud of the gifts that were made as part of the Employee Giving Campaign, a new tradition. I’m really proud of the way the employees at USD have stepped up year after year to participate. When we began this initiative four years ago, 21 percent of our employees contributed; this year 79 percent made a gift.

Also, our students have made more than 10,600 gifts during the course of the campaign. These are young people who have limited resources, but who see the value of participating in whatever way that they can financially.

Q: What proposals did the campaign lay the groundwork for as we approach our 75th anniversary?

A: We will always have the need for increased financial aid for our students and increased support for our faculty.

There are also more capital projects on the drawing board, including the renovation of Copley Library, a start on the School of Business facility, the softball and golf facility and the new Learning Commons.

Q: You announced your retirement in the final days of the campaign. After 45 years as an educator, 36 years as a fundraiser and 12 years at USD, what brings you the most pride?

A: First, enabling donors to make a difference by helping them figure out the best way to have an impact is a real privilege. The second is simply contributing to the success of my colleagues. This enterprise is the result of the efforts of many, many people.

If I helped to facilitate my colleagues’ success in contributing to USD’s future, then I’m very happy to have been able to do that.

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