University Poised to Meet Campaign Goal
Eight of Harvard's nine schools--excepting only the Faculty of Arts and Sciences--have met or exceeded their fundraising goals, according to University Development Office (UDO) Spokesperson Andrew K. Tiedemann.
These schools' success puts Harvard months ahead of the schedule projected at the beginning of the campaign in 1994, Tiedemann said.
"It's been going really well," Tiedemann said. "We couldn't have anticipated having eight out of the nine schools having met their goal by September of 1999."
The UDO has not released up-to-date figures, but if the surplus from other schools were to make up for FAS' shortfall and put the total amount raised over $2.1 billion, Harvard would consider the campaign goal met, said University Provost Harvey V. Fineberg '67.
The campaign had taken in $2.01 billion as of Commencement exercises in June, leaving Harvard only $90 million short of its goal. Earlier in the campaign, President Neil L. Rudenstine put the campaign's fundraising pace at $1 million per day.
"We had a very strong finish last year," Rudenstine said. "I feel remarkably fortunate that there is this much support."
The University is expected to announce its progress at a meeting of the executive committee of the campaign, to be held at the Harvard Club of New York October 6. Rudenstine said the event will include a formal campaign update.
While they meet several times every year, this meeting will be different from the rest, according to Fineberg.
"It will have a special character because the end is in sight," Fineberg says.
The meeting will feature a luncheon for 150 donors, alumni and campaign officials, followed by meetings and a reception.
"It's a very big event," said Bob Crandell, director of catering at New York's Harvard Club.
It's anybody's guess how the University will handle the last several months, alumni say. After making the official announcement of the campaign's end, likely to come in the next couple weeks, it could continue to fundraise beyond the goal--or it could formally increase the campaign's goals.
"We're going to have to keep raising money forever," Rudenstine said.
With the stock market still booming, University officials are reluctant to slow the pace of their fundraising, fearing an eventual economic downturn that will put a pinch on Harvard's finances and fund drives.
Moreover, the campaign is still falling short in several specific areas, despite its overall success.
Several professorships, interfaculty programs, library projects and science initiatives lag behind the rest of the campaign and may not reach their goals by the campaign's official end in December.
The campaign aims to establish 40 new professorships, but it seems unlikely that the University will reach this goal by the end of the year.
A grand quest
Rudenstine admits to having had doubts at the campaign's naissance. The largest capital campaign he had ever worked on before the Harvard campaign had a goal of only $350 million--far less than this campaign's goal for FAS alone.
Last year University officials began changing their strategy to encourage donors to give to areas that lagged behind and educating donors about the benefits of less glamorous gifts.
FAS lagged behind then as it does now, with $48 million left to raise in June of this year. Always sticking points, the libraries, the professorships and the president's special fund were hard sells.
Four years into the campaign, in June 1998, the library fund was at only 44 percent of its goal--despite Katherine B. Loker's $17 million jumpstart gift in spring 1998.
The professorships--$3.5 million each--were at 51 percent of the goal.
The President's University Fund, for which the University is attempting to raise $235 million during the campaign, will sponsor University-wide professorships, project ADAPT and interfaculty initiatives. It lagged behind at the 59 percent mark in June 1998.
Overall, the University inched 7 percent closer to its goal by June 1999, leading University administrators to talk with confidence about finishing the campaign.
And recently alumni and administrators have anticipated a successful finish.
"I'm sure that they've got it," said one alumnus last week. It's a question of "whenever they want to announce it," the alumnus said.
A New Face
The first University-wide fundraising drive, the campaign has been a centralizing force on a traditionally decentralized University. Schools have coordinated their efforts and looked at the University as a whole, not simply their own schools.
The campaign grew out of a two-year University-wide planning process in which the president, provost and deans of the University gathered to create academic plans for each of Harvard's schools.
In the process of mapping out a future for the University, Harvard officials decided its top priorities for the campaign to improve the University as a whole.
With new professorships and initiatives like the President's Fund, they aimed to create cross-faculty and international programs.
With campaign funds, FAS was able to increase the financial aid it offers undergraduates last fall.
Over the six years of the campaign, Harvard has begun to renovate many of its older buildings and construct new laboratories and offices around campus.
Specifically, the campaign means the millions of volumes in Harvard's largest library will be free of heat, humidity and sunlight.
The Widener Library renovation project, pegged at $52 million, will add air conditioning, a new sprinkler system, a new fire detection system and two new reading rooms to Widener.
The University has pledged to renovate Harvard Hall, Holden Chapel and University Hall, rebuild the clock tower atop Memorial Hall and construct a home for its newly inaugurated center for Genomics and Proteomics.
Harvard has fixed up dining halls, common space within the houses, museums and playing fields.
Despite the successful campaign, the University will most likely continue to fundraise, amassing money for these projects.
"As far as I'm concerned, the Campaign will continue as planned until the end of this year, as the millenium dawns," Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles wrote in an email message.
The end of one campaign signals the beginning of the planning process for the next.
According to Rudenstine, it is only another couple years before Harvard will probably gear up for another fundraising extravaganza.