Ideas and resources are the heart of what makes a university work. The scarcity of the former leads to a lack of the latter. It is a foundational principle of economics.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

George Bernard Shaw

Geraldine Fabricant of The New York times reports in a November 15th story, “As Donors Retrench, Challenges for Universities”, that university fundraising efforts may be in for tough times. In 2009, donations fell by almost 12% nationally. Most unfortunate in these challenging times is that university fundraising efforts are under the budget ax as well.

The University of Texas only receives 16% of its total budget from the state, according to the Austin American Statesman, down from nearly 50% three decades ago. The balance comes from other sources. One significant source of funding is private giving: decreases in giving at the Ivy’s are common this year – but, at the University of Texas, giving is up over 4%.