The University of Chicago Magazine

August 1996


Donors drive campaign to record-breaking finale

The University finished its five-year Campaign for the Next Century on June 30 with a historic grand total of $676 million.

Begun at the U of C's centennial celebration in 1991 with a goal of $500 million, the campaign soon set a record-breaking pace that inspired University trustees to raise the goal to $650 million in early 1995. Donors exceeded that amount by $26 million--and bettered the original goal by $176 million.

"Our alumni and friends have brought us to a new era," remarked U of C President Hugo Sonnenschein, "in which they insist that Chicago have the resources to do the very best, most important, and most necessary work.

"The remarkable growth in their support is what is needed to support a University of exceptional quality. It is also," said the president, "the foundation on which we intend to build still greater achievements in teaching and discovery."

Sonnenschein noted that $237 million, or 57 percent of all individual gifts, came from alumni. In total, grants and pledges came from 92,000 donors worldwide.

Of the total raised, $237 million-or 57 percent of all individual gifts-came from alumni.

University trustee Harvey B. Plotnick, AB'63, who chaired the campaign, commented at its conclusion: "The University has been blessed with a unique and intimate undergraduate college, with the most productive graduate and professional programs, and with students and teachers who have long been leaders in research and education. Today, our alumni and friends have guaranteed that our tradition of inventing the future will continue well into the next century."

The campaign's success--the largest amount ever amassed in a fund-raising campaign in the City of Chicago--was assured by several large gifts made during its final month. In the last week of the campaign, for example, Mrs. Gaylord Donnelley--part of a family of Chicago-area philanthropists and civic leaders who have been associated with the University since its founding--completed creation of the Donnelley Fund for student aid, a major campaign priority, and provided matching funds for other scholarship gifts. The gift helped surpass the $46.5-million goal for student aid by nearly $4 million.

The $50 million raised for student aid is especially important, said President Sonnenschein, "to ensure that the most outstanding students can continue to hope for the extraordinary education offered at Chicago, whatever their financial circumstances."

The two other major campaign priorities were endowment for faculty support, for which donors have provided $86 million, and new campus facilities, for which they gave $103 million. The planned athletic center, which was made a fund-raising priority only in the campaign's final year, still requires millions of dollars in gifts and has become a priority of the University's continuing fund-raising efforts.

More than $300 million was also raised in expendable funds to support research by faculty and students, the University's libraries, and its various academic programs.

Editor's note: An extensive roundup of the results of the University's Campaign for the Next Century will appear in the Magazine's upcoming issue.

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