Professor David Schmidtz Honored for Fundraising Work

Professor David Schmidtz Honored for Fundraising Work

By Stephanie BalzerUA Foundation
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David Schmidtz is the recipient of the 2014 Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award.
David Schmidtz is the recipient of the 2014 Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award.

The UA Foundation Board of Trustees has named David Schmidtz, UA Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, recipient of the 2014 Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award.

Schmidtz – a renowned author, scholar and philosophy and economics professor – founded the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the UA in 2008. During his UA tenure, he has raised more than $10 million for the University, a sum that distinguishes him as the top fundraiser among directors and department heads in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.      

"I am humbled by and grateful for this award," Schmidtz said. "It is an occasion for reflection: on the generosity of donors who have spent lifetimes learning the difference between a good investment and a bad one and who chose to bet on Arizona and on the Freedom Center; on colleagues who had already built perfectly successful careers elsewhere but who chose to start over at Arizona with a chance to push the boundaries of their discipline; and on dear friends on campus – not the least of whom was Gene Sander himself – who had more to lose than to gain but who chose to help me build a center that would study political economy and the foundations of entrepreneurial citizenship around the state."

The Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award was established by the UA Foundation Board of Trustees in 2008 to honor UA faculty who set examples among their peers for upholding high standards of performance in fundraising and development efforts. The award is named for former UA President Eugene G. Sander, who was an advocate and leader of faculty involvement in the fundraising process for more than two decades. Sander is credited with helping raise tens of millions of dollars in private contributions.

Schmidtz, a 1988 UA alumnus with a doctorate in philosophy, explores in his research questions of ethics and entrepreneurship, environmental philosophy, decision theory and the philosophy of law and economics. He joined the UA faculty in 1995.

"David has been instrumental in visioning and making real a research center on the topic of freedom – a term with a long and complicated history. In its many guises – whether personal, collective or institutional – the question of freedom is at the center of the search for the good life and therefore continues to attract some of the most important thinkers in the philosophical tradition," said John Paul Jones, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "That David was able convince so many donors of the ethical, economic and political relevance of freedom suggests how compelling his vision for the center has been."

As a fundraiser, Schmidtz is known for being adept at building relationships, especially with donors who are passionate, lifelong learners. Randy Kendrick is one such donor. Her philanthropy helped establish the Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, today held by Schmidtz.  

"I give to the UA because of Professor David Schmidtz," Kendrick said in a 2011 interview with the UA Foundation. "His worldwide reputation in the field of political philosophy attracts national support and topflight academics to the University."

With the support of philanthropic funds, Schmidtz and the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom have been able to stretch their global impact by hosting visiting research professors, participating in conferences and seminars, and furthering scholarly publishing and research.

Thanks to Schmidtz, the center was awarded a $2.9 million grant from The John Templeton Foundation to support a number of new initiatives, including a master's degree program in ethics, economy and entrepreneurship, and the creation of a worldwide network of researchers in the field of philosophy, politics and economics.

"It's an honor to present David with the 2014 Sander Fundraising Award. His ongoing success helps bring us closer to the $1.5 billion Arizona NOW fundraising goal," said James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the UA Foundation. "David engages donors, offering them the opportunity to learn about political and economic philosophy from one of the top-ranked programs in the world. But he also demonstrates what it means to be a dedicated and ambitious educator. That's a winning combination for donors interested in the answers to life's big questions."

Faculty fundraising is critical to the success of Arizona NOW. Launched publicly in April 2014, it is distinguished by its unprecedented scope, as well as its ties to Never Settle, the UA's strategic academic and business plan. To date, the campaign is ahead of pace with more than 70 percent of the goal already accomplished. The vast majority of gifts are "restricted," which means they can be used only for a specific purpose or project.

Past recipients of the Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award are:

  • Joaquin Ruiz, Vice President of Innovation and Strategy; Dean, College of Science (2013)
  • Mary Poulton, Head, Department of Mining and Geological Engineering; Director, Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources (2012)
  • Robert F. Lusch, James and Pamela Muzzy Chair in Entrepreneurship (2011)
  • Gordon A. Ewy, Director Emeritus, UA Sarver Heart Center (2010)
  • John W. Olsen, Regents' Professor of Anthropology (2009)
  • Soyeon Shim, Director (former), John & Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences (2008)

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