Statement of Debra LaMorte
Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations
New York University
Before the New York City Planning Commission
For the Public Hearing on the New York University Core Project
Dear Chair Burden and Members of the Commission:
I write to express my strong support for NYU’s plan to create additional academic space on its Washington Square campus. I have been an employee of NYU for over 22 years and have seen firsthand the University change and grow over my tenure. I have also witnessed what NYU has done for the neighborhood and for New York City. It has been an economic engine that has created jobs and brought talent to New York City, fueling the city’s growth in all sectors, including finance, arts, and the establishment of many new entrepreneurial business ideas and start-ups. Our students, faculty, and administrators all support the community neighborhoods in Manhattan and the boroughs that make up our great city.
Specifically, my role at NYU is to oversee the fundraising and alumni relations for the university. Our alumni and parents are excited about the expansion and would like to help contribute gifts for the project. NYU has a tremendously successful track record in fundraising. In 2008, we concluded what was at the time the largest fundraising campaign in US higher education, raising $3.1B. Philanthropy has always been a vital exercise for us in moving NYU forward. The Core Project provides an unprecedented opportunity for donors to help with a major capital campaign that they know will be vital to the university's future.
In fact, I am in the process of working on a $25M gift now for the Institute of the Performing Arts, which is part of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. This gift will help fund a theater, which would be open to the public, will create excitement in the neighborhood, and will give NYU students a platform and professional space to perform their craft before venturing out in to the world after graduation. It is a win-win for everyone. This is but one example of the many gifts which I believe will be possible once NYU has been granted approval for the project.
NYU needs the additional space on its campus, and New York City needs a strong NYU. I appreciate your consideration.
Debra A. LaMorte