U.S. News and World Report ranked the university 99 out of 1,400 universities. For many alumni, however, the ranking is nothing more than a number.
Fort Worth resident and alumna Sarah Martinez said she’s always held the university in high regard.
“I’m a lifelong Fort Worth resident, so I’ve always had an affinity for TCU and the Horned Frogs,” she said.
Alumnus Miguel Ortega said he came to the university because of its prestige.
“I applied to the school knowing it was a good school…it’s made me into the person that I am today,” he said.
The university scored high rankings because the emotional pull alumni felt for the university led to their monetary donations.
Alumni donations made up five percent of what U.S. News and World Report considered when ranking universities. The magazine’s website detailed that alumni donations serve as a proxy for how satisfied students are with the university. For Martinez, the ranking showed the effort donations made toward advancing the university.
“Whenever you can see something tangible like that…it almost makes you feel like it’s paying off…it’s improving the school and getting its name out there,” she said.
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Development David Nolan said the rankings showed his office’s hard work, but they did not influence his overall strategy. He said this was because the rankings only factored in annual giving, not the multi-year campaigns his office conducted. He said the rankings also were not a dependable manifestation of his office’s efforts because alumni could donate money to a multi-year campaign without donating to the annual campaign.
Overall, Nolan said, his office focused on their relationships with alumni.
“We want to build affiliation, we want people to feel a sense of connection, and if that’s the case and we’ve been successful in that, then we can appeal to them for their financial support,” he said.
This feeling of connection has created a sense of obligation for many young alumni to give back to their alma mater once they become established.
Ortega said while student loans are his main priority right now, he wants to give back so that others may be able to have the same fruitful experience he did.