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Harvard Unveils $6.5-Billion Capital Campaign

9.21.13


The University this afternoon revealed the $6.5-billion goal for The Harvard Campaign, its first institution-wide fund drive since the University Campaign concluded in 1999, having raised $2.6 billion. Pledges and gifts received during the initial phase of the new campaign total $2.8 billion. The campaign’s goals, and its achievements to date, are being introduced and celebrated during events on campus today, including a faculty panel discussion (see participants); a conversation on philanthropy between Bill Gates’77, LL.D.’07, and campaign co-chair David M. Rubenstein (see background on their charitable activities); and an afternoon address by President Drew Faust.

According to the campaign news announcement, priorities for the funds to be raised include:

  • teaching and research (45 percent)
  • financial aid and “the student experience” (25 percent)
  • capital improvements (20 percent)
  • flexible funding “to foster collaborations and initiatives” (10 percent)

Details about each are scant: the campaign is being announced ahead of publication of a case statement, and many of the academic programs, in particular, remain to be spelled out as each Harvard school initiates its own campaign during the next 15 months—beginning with the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in late October. (The campaign website, activated September 21, is visual and interactive, but contains relatively limited information about specific campaign objectives, school priorities, or aggregate investments in broader categories like financial aid, faculty growth, or the like.)

Nonetheless, some further directions can be teased out now.

•Research and teaching: Harvard will pursue interdisciplinary programs in neuroscience; the environment; energy; and global health. It aims to further global engagement through research and education around the world; to emphasize innovations in teaching within each school, and across departmental and school boundaries. No information was provided on prospective growth in the faculty ranks, but the news release and prior comments by University leaders both emphasized expansion of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), which is apparently scheduled for robust growth.

•Financial aid: Much as student need has risen—visibly in the College, but no less urgently for graduate students in the arts and sciences, and in many professional schools—administrators are pressed to put aid funding on a sustainable basis with permanent, endowed resources, relieving pressure on unrestricted income from tuition and other sources. (It is notable that even if a quarter of the entire campaign goal were raised and dedicated solely to FAS, that injection of endowment resources would just about finance the unendowed portion of the current undergraduate-aid program, leaving nothing to secure support for graduate and professional students.)

Capital improvements: The largest identified projects and programs are the science complex in Allston, where much of SEAS will be housed and its growth accommodated, and the renovation of undergraduate Houses, a $1.0-billion-plus effort now under way. “Common spaces” projects are also slated for a significant investment, notably a campus center that, The Crimson has reported, will be fashioned out of some part of Holyoke Center. (It is interesting to note that the most recent Allston institutional master plan filing with Boston regulators indicates an enlarged administrative building at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue, encompassing 300,000 square feet—raising the possibility that a good number of administrative personnel might soon join the SEAS scientists in establishing Harvard’s presence in the emerging campus there.)

Additional Allston projects in the offing include athletic facilities—renovation and reconfiguration of Harvard Stadium; a new basketball pavilion—and a series of Harvard Business School executive-education, conference, and academic facilities.

Other large projects being talked about include a prospective building to complete Harvard Kennedy School’s quadrangle. It is unclear whether any substantial construction is planned on behalf of HSPH, which has identified extensive needs in its many, scattered buildings, or for the essentially landlocked Graduate School of Design, which is out of space (and which may find opportunities for faculty members involved in materials and other technical fields to locate alongside SEAS colleagues in the new Allston facility or elsewhere.)

 

“We launch The Harvard Campaign at a moment when higher education is being challenged to reinvent itself, and we embrace this opportunity for a campaign that aims to do more than merely extend or reinforce long-standing strength and eminence,” President Faust said in a statement in the news announcement. The fund drive, she continued, “calls upon us to articulate and affirm the fundamental values and purposes of higher education in a world transformed by globalization and technology, a world filled with promise for improving human lives, a world in which talent recognizes no boundaries, and in which creativity and curiosity will fuel the future.” She outlined as guiding principles the importance of advancing discovery and learning; teaching innovation; global reach and impact; emphasizing the importance of creativity and values within the mission of research universities; encouraging innovation; supporting the most talented students and faculty; and fashioning the campus for Harvard’s future.

In Faust’s address, she is expected to talk about the challenges of preparing the University for changes in research, teaching, and increased emphasis on applying knowledge to contemporary world challenges, while reconciling those imperatives with the continuing strengths of the liberal arts and inquiries into the arts, humanities, and values.

Read about the campaign leadership here. Read the University news announcement here.

For full coverage of the campaign, the day’s events, and Faust’s address, check Harvard Magazine’s home page for regular updates; or click here for a full round-up of campaign-associated news reports.

 

 

 

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