The University of Guelph’s annual United Way campaign got an early boost Thursday night with the announcement that U of G won the President’s Campaign Award from the local United Way.

The award was presented at the 2014 Guelph Awards of Excellence. The annual event brings together community leaders, advocates, volunteers, businesses, and other people from the community to celebrate local success stories.

The university was recognized by the United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin (UWGWD), along with Linamar Corporation, for being a “driving force” behind the region’s annual fundraising campaign.

WGWD executive director Ken Dardano noted U of G has raised more than $6 million over the history of the campaign, with $600,000 collected in 2013.

“Every unit of the University participates in the campaign, making it a true community effort,” he said.

Dardano said that the University’s campaign has experienced increases in all areas, including from students, faculty and staff, both past and current.

“Student groups continue to exceed expectations, raising $18,000 in 2013, and U of G retirees increased their contribution by 18 per cent in 2013. In addition, campus unions support the campaign through their own fundraising events.”

He also pointed to the University’s volunteer committee, which pushes the nearly 200 campus volunteers to grow the campaign each year, with increases in participation and surpassing of each year’s goal.

This year, co-chairs of the U of G campaign are Prof. Rich Moccia, associate vice-president (strategic partnerships) and Biomedical Sciences staff member Kim Best, along with undergraduate students Remy Marlett and Meghan Doherty.

U of G’s campaign will officially kick off September 25.