U. of Virginia Raises $3-Billion

As part of its commencement celebrations this past weekend, the University of Virginia announced that its long-term fund-raising campaign had met its goal of bringing in more than $3-billion.

In making the announcement, the university’s president, Teresa A. Sullivan, called the Campaign for the University of Virginia “the most ambitious capital campaign in the history of public higher education.” The campaign was begun in 2004 by a former UVa president, John T. Casteen III.

The university was able to use its “‘public ivy’ status” as a fund-raising tool, Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for university advancement, said in an e-mail. “We dared to aspire to be included with the best of the privates.”

He also credited an “extraordinary volunteer leadership who not only gave gifts and made calls but challenged staff and university leadership to really push,” as well as a “a fundamentally sound fund-raising apparatus,” for UVa’s success.

Meeting such a campaign goal is a “highly significant achievement,” especially for a public institution, said Rae Goldsmith, vice president for advancement resources at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. UVa joins “a very small universe” of institutions that have successfully attempted campaigns of $3-billion or larger, according Ms. Goldsmith, and most such institutions are private.

After an initial two-year quiet phase, the campaign was announced publicly in 2006. It received gifts from more than 220,000 donors. The money will be used to support more than 1,000 endowments (including 514 endowed scholarships and 63 endowed professorships), as well as construction and renovation of numerous buildings on the campus.

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