“Eindhoven University Fund (UFe) exists to support TU/e, and not the other way around,” according to Henk Kivits (1953), who studied Chemical Engineering at TU/e in the seventies and obtained his PhD degree at Applied Physics. He says that all the donations made to the fund are used exclusively to support students and scientists and their study and research projects. “We don’t spend anything on overhead, the university facilitates that. This way, the money won’t be misappropriated,” Kivits says.
UFe’s activities are supported by the Alumni Office, which was recently incorporated into the Communication Expertise Center (CEC). Kivits says that in March, Ton Backx – the former dean of the department of Electrical Engineering who retired in early 2020 – will take up the position of chair of the Alumni Office for one day a week. Together with Edith Snelders, head of the Alumni Office, Backx will outline a strategic plan for the coming years.
Heroes for Heroes
TU/e’s anniversary campaign Heroes for Heroes, during which alumni were asked to donate a sum of 65 euros – or a financial variation on that sum – turned out to be a huge success, Kivits and Snelders say. In the end, it earned UFe 1,100 new donors and a sum of 175,000 euros. Kivits: “Those 2,300 donors are only a tiny fraction compared to the more than 51,000 students who have graduated from this university so far. There’s still plenty of room for further growth. But quality matters more to us than quantity. These are the alumni with whom we’ve forged a bond, and once they’re well of financially, they’ll be able to spend some more money in the distant future.”
Snelders adds that these donors also want to see some concrete references on campus to their donations. “Work is currently underway on an artwork that will include all the names of those who donated 65, 165 or perhaps even 1650 euros. It will be located near the entrance of the former Paviljoen building. Considering the success over the past years of Alumni Avenue, where alumni can engrave their names in the glass windows of the walkway, I’m sure that this gesture will also be appreciated.”
When asked whether donors can also play a role in making a decision on how their money will be spent, Kivits replies: “The fund has three major themes: For Life (health), For the World (technology to keep our planet habitable) and For the Better (talent development). Donors often choose the medical theme, but we don’t just support projects in this field. Larger donations of one hundred thousand euros or more usually require customization. But no matter how much money you donate, everyone will be personally informed about how their money was used.”
Snelders and Kivits use the opportunity to call on people to submit their applications with the UFe. These plans do however need to be in line with TU/e’s fields of interest. Snelders: “I would also like to specifically draw our students’ attention to the fact that they can submit an application, because they sometimes tend to forget the UFe can also help them with the financial support of their plans.”
You can visit this site for an overview of all the projects that have been realized so far with the support of UFe.
Henk Kivits founded Intercai, a consultancy agency in the field of telecommunications and information technology, and served as its director. He also worked at KPN as general director Multimedia and collaborated with Endemol and Philips on the launch of tv channel Sport 7. He served as president of Holland Casino’s executive board between 1998 and 2007, after which he was appointed CEO of Stage Entertainment. After 2013, he became CEO of catering company Maison van den Boer, where he started FoodforCare, an innovative nutritional formula for hospital patients.