NEW PALTZ — Nineteen ninety-eight was a record year for the College at New Paltz Foundation, according to recently released figures. Donations totaled more than $1.2 million dollars, a 28 percent increase from the previous year.

More than 3,600 individuals made contributions to the college through its Foundation, according to Richard Podgorski, vice president for advancement. Topping the list of donations was an anonymous gift of $350,000 earmarked for the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, now under construction and scheduled to open in January 2000. Podgorski said that more than 70 percent of the donors were alumni. Gifts from alumni were up 12 percent over that of the previous year.

“It’s reasonable to think that these increases represent the high regard of the donor public toward the campus,” stated Podgorski.

Among the notable gifts were $70,000 received for an addition to the Dorothea Hopfer Alumni Center, and increases in giving to The Hudson Valley Forum, the Friends of Sojourner Truth Library, and by faculty and staff.

The Hudson Valley Forum, a membership society that focuses on issues of importance to the region, increased its membership in 1998 and raised $47,335 in member and guest fees; the Friends of Sojourner Truth Library, an association which is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the library as a shared resource, surpassed its goal by nearly $3,000 and raised $16,717; and faculty and staff giving totaled $35,639, an increase of 20 percent.

“We are particularly pleased that scholarship donations also increased,” said Podgorski. “More than $200,000 was restricted to scholarships. This includes the addition of six new Adopt-a-Scholar participants and five other scholarships.”

The Adopt-a-Scholar Program, begun in 1997, assists entering freshmen with a $1,000 scholarship for each of four years, provided they maintain certain academic standards. Scholars are matched with donors and required to stay in touch with their sponsors on an annual basis.

Other new scholarships established in 1998 were the Donald Bishko Memorial, the Alice Matzdorf Memorial, the Shannon-Lowney Lee, the Edwin A. Ulrich and the Frank G. Elliott Family scholarships.

Fundraising goals for the campus and the Foundation in the year ahead include an ambitious campaign to secure 20 additional Adopt-a-Scholar donors, an effort to establish an operating endowment of $475,000 for the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, and several new named professorships and endowed chairs. A feature of the Dorsky Museum campaign will be the opportunity for donors to have galleries within the new building named after them.

“The university’s rise in prominence is matched by increased expectations and the need for additional resources to enable the campus to reach its full potential,” Podgorski said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for the campus and the community to come together to create something of lasting value for the people of the region and the state. In many instances, as with endowed chairs, donors can create a permanent memorial to the donor or a loved one,” noted Podgorski. “It is a rare win-win opportunity for everyone involved.”

Recently, the College at New Paltz Foundation elected new officers and approved changes to their by-laws, including that of changing its name to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation.

Ed Ullmann, Mt. Tremper resident and president and CEO of Bienestar, a health management organization, was appointed to chair the Foundation. Ullmann succeeds Kingston attorney Eli Basch who retains his affiliation with the college through his service on the College Council.

Also appointed were James Hoffman, president of the Hudson Valley division of M&T Bank, as vice chair, and Paul L. Brown, vice president of The Continuous Learning Group, Inc. and former professor of psychology at SUNY New Paltz, as treasurer.

Ullmann remarked, “It’s not often that one receives the honor of helping to move their local state university into the 21st century. SUNY New Paltz is a university on the move, supported by an exciting new president and motivated faculty. As a public university, New Paltz needs and deserves the support of our community leaders from all walks of life, and it is with great pride that I have accepted this new position.”

SUNY New Paltz President Roger W. Bowen noted that “The Foundation is an indispensable partner in attracting private support for important campus priorities. As the campus completes the strategic planning process, new funding priorities will emerge,” he said. “We will rely heavily on the leadership of the Foundation as we seek private funds to complement state appropriations. I am most grateful to the private citizens who lead the Foundation for the hard work, devotion, and generosity of spirit that characterizes their service to the campus,” he added.