- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Private contributions to the University of Wyoming dropped for the second year in a row to about $46 million, a $10 million decrease from the record collected in 2013.

However, Ben Blalock, president and CEO of the UW Foundation, said that he wasn’t concerned by the decrease and that he expected donations to rebound this fiscal year, beginning with an announcement of a new contribution on Friday.

“The last couple of years were exceptional, but at the same time I feel they very much reflect the future for where we’re going with our private support program,” Blalock said. “So the slight dip that we saw at $46 million this past year, being less than the previous two, we feel that will be offset by being back at 50 plus million dollars in the new year.”

Private donations hit a high of $56 million in fiscal year 2013 and $50.7 million in 2014.

In the 2015 fiscal year that ended June 30, the state’s only public four-year university received donations from nearly 23,000 people, corporations and foundations. Among them was energy firm Hess Corp., which donated $15 million to the university for research into extracting hard-to-get oil and gas deposits.

During the 2014 calendar year, donations to the UW Cowboy Joe Club athletic fund, which supports student-athletes, were $3.1 million, up from $2.75 million in 2013, according to Randy Welniak, senior associate athletic director with the club.

Welniak said a fundraising campaign announced this past spring to build a $44 million center for student-athlete training and support has already received some $17 million in commitments.

Private donations to the university are bolstered by matching funds from the state of Wyoming, which provides dollar-for-dollar matches for endowment gifts of at least $50,000 and facilities donations of at least $25,000.

As of last March, the college’s endowment totaled $427 million, the highest amount it has ever reached.

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