Aspire Campaign raises $1.64 billion
The University’s Aspire Campaign is well on track to completion, University officials said, having raised $1.64 billion — or 94 percent — of the $1.75 billion the campaign is slated to raise by this June.
“We are right on track for finishing the campaign by the goal, and we have every expectation that we will do so by June 30,” University Vice President and Secretary Bob Durkee ’69 said.
The capital campaign, launched in 2007 by President Shirley Tilghman, seems to be on pace to meet the deadline despite the challenges posed by the global economic crisis. As of October 2010, the University had raised $1.26 billion — or 72 percent — of the total. The University had raised $991 million — or 57 percent of the total — in April 2009.
Vice President for Development Elizabeth Boluch Wood shared Durkee’s optimism about meeting the deadline.
“The campaign has progressed on schedule, and we are counting on continued support from generous alumni, parents and friends of the University to achieve our goal by June 30,” she said in an email.
Wood has been the architect of the five-year endowment campaign. In 2010, she was appointed to her current position, replacing previous Vice President for Development Brian McDonald ’83, and has continued to spearhead the campaign. Wood acknowledged the trouble posed by the recession to the campaign but explained that Aspire has still managed to be successful despite it thanks to alumni donations.
The University’s total endowment was valued at $17.1 billion at the close of the most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2011. The University continues to hold the largest per-student endowment of schools in the United States, although its annual donations in 2011 still put it outside the top 20 fundraising schools nationwide, according to a recent survey by the Council for Aid to Education. Most of the University’s peer schools ranked in the top 20.
The University raised $236,172,907 in 2011 according to the report, a 14 percent increase from the $206,729,497 that it raised in the 2010 fiscal year. According to the University website, last year the University raised $50 million through Annual Giving, representing an alumni participation rate of 61.3 percent — slightly higher than the 60.8 percent alumni participation rate in 2010.
This is the largest undergraduate alumni participation rate of any university, 10 percentage points higher than second-highest Dartmouth College.
The figures for this year have yet to incorporate the donations raised during the 2012 Reunions. The alumni weekend generates the greatest portion of Annual Giving donations every year.
The campaign has focused on six main areas — the creative and performing arts, energy and the environment, developing the neuroscience department, global involvement and student life.
The Aspire Campaign was jumpstarted in 2007 after Peter B. Lewis ’55 donated $100 million to establish the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts. Another $100 million donation came in 2008 from Gerhard Andlinger ’52 to establish the Anglinger Center for Energy and the Environment.
Many of the campaign’s fundraising goals have already translated into tangible results on the University campus, such as the completion of the new Butler dormitories in 2009.
Over the course of the past year the campaign has also gotten donations for the establishment of other new areas of research. In April 2011, Jeff Bezos ’86 contributed $15 million for the establishment of a Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics to support the growing Neuroscience Department.
The Wilson School has also received significant donations. In 2007, Robert Neihaus ’77 contributed to the founding of a Center for Globalization and Governance, and in 2011, Mitch Julis ’77 made a donation for the founding of the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance. Both gifts were of unspecified amounts.