A record 47,182 donors to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, last year helped push the $1.1 billion Join the Journey campaign over the top, two years ahead of schedule.

Those donors contributed more than $173 million during the 2018-19 fiscal year, which ended June 30, UTK said in a news release Friday.

The money helps fund student scholarships, hire new faculty, make campus improvements and support other enhancements to students’ educational experience.

Chancellor Donde Plowman, who took office July 1, said, “Already I am meeting students who have been helped through these scholarships and getting to know some of our top faculty who have received these awards and professorships. Every day across campus, I see the impact of the support from our alumni and friends, and it makes me extremely proud.”

Since the 2012 campaign launch, donors have contributed $1.19 billion and established 857 undergraduate scholarship awards, 303 graduate fellowships and scholarships, and 159 faculty awards, professorships and chairs.

More than half of the donors who gave in the past year were alumni, a total of 25,408. More than 7,000 UT students received scholarships from private support, which totaled nearly $20 million.

UT raises funds through the University of Tennessee Foundation, an independent nonprofit corporation.

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