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To $1,000,000,000 and beyond . . .

In the fall of 1995, the University began what would become the largest, most successful fund-raising campaign in its 254-year history. Last week, President Shapiro and other members of the administration reflected on their efforts — five years and almost $1 billion later.

The Anniversary Campaign for Princeton began with a target of $750 million.


"But then the campaign went extremely well," Shapiro said, "and we were very anxious, for example, to take on some new initiatives in financial aid."

As a result, the University decided to raise the target to $1 billion. Shapiro identified three main reasons for the increase — offering more financial aid, accelerating the dormitory renovation program and increasing the number of academic initiatives it could launch.

"So those three things caused us to expand the campaign," he said.

Shapiro also said the booming U.S. economy has played a large part in the campaign's success. "Obviously when times are good people have greater capacity, so we certainly benefit from the fact the economy has done so well. There's no question that played a role," he said.

This campaign — which Vice President for Development Van Zandt Williams '65 labeled a "comprehensive campaign" because it includes not only capital donations but also annual giving — has relied mostly on donations from alumni.

It has surpassed the University's previous campaign, which ran from 1981 to 1986, by more than $400 million, adjusted for inflation. That campaign — launched by former president William Bowen GS '58 — raised $410 million for the University, according to Williams.


Shapiro is commander-in-chief of the University's fund-raising efforts and dedicated much of his time during the course of the campaign to raising money.

"A capital campaign, for one thing, is very tiring," he said. "I've spent a considerable amount of my time over the last five years, maybe 20 percent of my time on this."

Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard Spies GS '72 said the maintenance and growth of the endowment through this campaign is essential to the success of the University because endowment funds enable the University to "take on new challenges," such as the Frist Campus Center or the genomics institute.

He said that while those buildings were gifts of the Frist family and of Peter Lewis '55, respectively, the operating costs for the facilities would be funded through the endowment.

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"And without new money coming in we can't do those things," Spies added.

In addition to the campus center and the genomics institute, students can see the fruits of the fund-raising campaign in other development initiatives. Scully Hall, Marx Hall, the Wallace Social Sciences building, the Friend engineering center and Princeton University Stadium have all been funded by the campaign.

The five-year fund-raising project also has raised money for the McCarter Theater addition, the dormitory renovation project, the Caldwell fieldhouse renovation and the enhancement of the financial aid program.

Some gifts have been in the "tens of millions of dollars," Shapiro said, but he quickly pointed out that the size of a gift does not matter to him and the University.

"[The donations] go all the way down to $50, or perhaps even less," Shapiro said. "For some people $50 is as difficult to give as for another person to give a thousand."

"When I think about alumni in the support of the University," he continued. "I hope they support the University within the context of their means. Some people have much greater means than others."

"And the ones who have smaller means are just as valuable and important to us as the ones who have larger means, because the University belongs to its entire alumni body, not just its rich alumni body, and to me, what is important is that alumni participate in support of the University," Shapiro said. "But the level of their participation in terms of money is not important."

As of March 31, the campaign had raised $979.1 million, and Shapiro said he had no doubts the campaign would reach $1 billion. "I'm very confident we're going to exceed the one-billion mark."