Stanford Campaign Brings In $6.2-Billion, a Record for Higher Education

February 08, 2012

In a five-year fund-raising campaign that concluded December 31, Stanford University raised $6.2-billion, the largest sum ever collected in a single campaign by a higher-education institution, the university announced on Wednesday.

The money will go toward a variety of university projects, including 38 new or renovated campus buildings, $250-million in need-based scholarships for undergraduate students, 130 new endowed faculty appointments, and 360 new fellowships for graduate students. More than 166,000 alumni, parents, students, and others made 560,000 donations since the campaign began in 2006, the university said in a news release.

The campaign, called The Stanford Challenge, far surpassed its original goal of $4.3-billion, and exceeded the previous record for a concluded higher-education campaign by more than $2.3-billion, according to Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Yale University raised $3.886-billion in a five-year campaign that ended last June.

A capital campaign at Cornell University has also broken the $3-billion mark. That campaign, which is seeking to raise a total of $4.75-billion, is scheduled to continue through 2015.

Other institutions are homing in on even loftier fund-raising goals. Columbia University, which originally announced a $4-billion campaign in 2006, has raised its goal to $5-billion by December 2013, and has already collected $4.4-billion. In August, the University of Southern California announced the start of a seven-year, $6-billion capital campaign. The Southern California campaign had already raised $1-billion in a "quiet phase," including a $200-million gift from one of the university's trustees.

The Stanford Challenge attracted donations from a few high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Donors whose gifts totaled $50-million or more included John Morgridge, a former chairman of Cisco Systems, and his wife, Tashia; and the estate of Richard W. Weiland, one of the founding employees of Microsoft, who died in 2006. One unexpected donor was Dudley Chambers, a 1927 graduate of Stanford and a former engineer at General Electric, who bequeathed $51-million to the university in 2006 to benefit science and engineering programs. Before his bequest, Mr. Chambers's only previous gift to his alma mater was a donation of $250 to the School of Engineering in 1955.

"The Stanford Challenge has transformed the way our faculty and students work," John L. Hennessy, Stanford's president, said in the news release. "We've undertaken a new model in higher education, with experts from different fields joining together not only in research, but also in teaching. This kind of collaboration has enabled Stanford to assume a larger role in addressing global problems. We are already making a greater difference."