New campaign is first ever with a goal over $1 billion
Tonight's launch of "Aspire: A Plan for Princeton" will mark the public start of the University's fourth and largest formal capital campaign in its 261-year history.
Each of the last three University presidents — Harold Shapiro GS '64, William Bowen GS '58 and Robert Goheen '40 — have conducted major fundraising campaigns during their tenures, urging alumni and others to give to the University.
President Tilghman's five-year, $1.75 billion effort is far larger than Princeton's first fundraising campaign, launched by Goheen in 1959. The drive, "$53 million for Princeton University Campaign," revolutionized the way the University raised large sums of money.
Goheen began the campaign just two years into his time as president, a position he held from 1957 to 1972. The goal included $30 million for the construction of new buildings and plant improvements and $20 million for the endowment of faculty positions, the creation of new professorships, research and scholarship, and increased student aid.
"We at Princeton today have a deep confidence in the things for which Princeton stands: the education of young men toward thoughtful independence and responsibility, and the advancement of learning through active research and reflective scholarship in the fields of fundamental import," Goheen told the crowd of 1,500 alumni and guests assembled in Dillon Gymnasium for the kickoff on Feb. 21, 1959.
"We have an acute awareness of our responsibility to carry these things forward for the benefit of future generations," Goheen added.
Goheen stressed that Princeton needed to raise additional funds to maintain its place at the apex of American higher education.
"[Princeton's] proper role, we should never forget, is not that of the passive follower, not yet that of a merely competent unit within the general run," he said. "It lies, rather, in the role of self-determining, pacesetting achievement. At virtually all periods of her history, this has been Princeton's role. It is the role of her today. She must not forsake it."
The three-year effort would go on to raise more than $60 million from nearly 20,000 gifts, including a $35 million anonymous gift to fund the Wilson School's graduate program. Members of the Robertson family, who later came forward as the donors, are currently attempting to wrestle control of the now-$900 million Wilson School endowment from the University through a lawsuit filed in June 2002.
Goheen's campaign also secured funding for new buildings, in particular the expansion of the E-Quad, and strengthened the University's endowment.
Twenty years later, Bowen launched Princeton's second formal fundraising drive, "A Campaign for Princeton" on Alumni Day in 1982. It was the University's first comprehensive campaign, in which money was raised through both the Annual Giving fund and through major contributions to create endowed positions and programs; support new and existing academic initiatives; and fund major building, infrastructure and other capital projects.
Originally set to raise $275 million, the campaign's goal was increased to $330 million January 1984. It eventually raised $410.5 million by its conclusion in July 1986. The campaign funded a variety of faculty and academic programs, notably the creation of the Department of Molecular Biology.
Like the University's first major fundraising effort, this campaign kicked off with a dinner in Dillon Gym, this time with 600 businessmen, bankers and lawyers in attendance. The evening's keynote speaker was then-Sen. Bill Bradley '65 (D-N.J.), a former NBA basketball player and a campus celebrity during his time playing for the Tigers.
"The breadth of our ambition is as large as the extraordinary benefits that this university has given its students," Bradley told the group. "We must find the unity within our diversity; to recognize, just as the left and right hemispheres of the brain are united in a single mind, that we are too united, not only in our goal, but by the hemispheres of our world in a single mind."
Bowen also oversaw a $125 million development program just two years into his 17-year presidency. From 1974 to 1977, a small corps of volunteers solicited a select group of donors, and the informal campaign ultimately raised $127 million.
The most recent capital campaign, the "Anniversary Campaign for Princeton," ran from 1995 to 2000 and honored the University's 250th anniversary in 1996.
Launched by Shapiro on Nov. 10, 1995, in Jadwin Gymnasium before 1,000 alumni, the initial $750 million goal was revised upward to $900 million. The campaign ultimately raised $1.14 billion. More than 78 percent of undergraduate alumni contributed, and the funds supported building construction and renovation; academic expansion, such as a new finance program; and greatly increased undergraduate financial aid to make the University more affordable to students from lower-income families.
At the launch of the University's first formal capital campaign, Goheen set the tone in which each successive campaign has been conducted.
"Before this campaign is over, it will require a sacrificial gift from every alumnus, according to his means, as well as selfless hours of volunteer work from hundreds of you," Goheen said. "All of us who are alumni have in this campaign ... an opportunity to repay, in part, the debt we owe to past generations who benefactions in their times made it possible for us to enjoy the benefits of a great educational institution."
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