Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

The Campaign, Concluded

November-December 2018

Five years after the public launch of The Harvard Campaign, the University announced on September 20 that upon its conclusion this past June 30, the fund drive had attracted $9.62 billion in gifts and pledges. From the $2.8 billion in hand in September 2013, when the ambitious $6.5-billon goal was unveiled, alumni, foundations, parents, and others sustained an annualized pace of giving of more than $1.4 billion. According to the announcement, more than 153,000 households made more than 633,000 gifts.

The relatively anodyne announcement, in The Harvard Gazette (the sum raised appears in the sixth paragraph), at the thunderously successful conclusion of a colossal campaign, is consistent with the sotto voce communications during the past few years: a time of rising public concern about the costs and conduct of higher education; the enactment last December of a federal tax on elite institutions’ endowment income; and, locally, President Lawrence S. Bacow’s determination to focus on Harvard’s role in addressing major social challenges. In the announcement, he said, “It is…important that we lead by example as we seek to make the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship. We are enormously grateful to those who have supported us in this effort.”

The Gazette did not detail results by school or other specific outcomes (for a fuller report, see harvardmag.com/campaigntotal-18), beyond mentioning that $1.3 billion (13.5 percent of campaign proceeds) had been raised for financial aid, and that 142 professorships (new and existing) had been endowed.

Overall, some 42 percent of the gifts and pledges ($4 billion) were for endowments; 35 percent was applied to various current uses; 11 percent was in the form of nonfederal support for research; 10 percent supported construction (for example, Smith Campus Center and Klarman Hall; undergraduate House renewal; and the remade Kennedy School campus); and 2 percent was in the form of life-income funds.

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