Harvard Will Launch Historic Capital Campaign in 2013

Harvard hopes to publicly launch its University-wide capital campaign in 2013. The campaign will likely aim to raise at least $6 billion, according to senior administrators and people with knowledge of the situation, which would likely make it the largest capital campaign ever run by an institution of higher education.

The campaign is currently in its quiet phase—a period when University fundraisers aim to raise a large portion of the final campaign goal through hushed solicitation of major contributions. Only once the quiet phase is complete will the University announce its official monetary target and priorities for spending the donations.

“While we are planning for an eventual University-wide capital campaign and are considering a late 2013 launch, decisions about the timing and the goal have not been finalized,” wrote Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development Tamara E. Rogers ’74 in a statement.

The University, tight-lipped about its plans for the upcoming campaign, has until recently declined to comment on the timeline.

The campaign will likely last about five years past its public launch, Steven Oliveira, dean for development and alumni relations at Harvard Law School, told The Crimson in 2011.

According to University President Drew G. Faust, Harvard has not yet set a final monetary goal. Stanford recently set the record for a university capital campaign. Between 2006 and 2011, Stanford raised $6.23 billion.

Peter L. Malkin ’55, a prominent donor to the University, did not offer an exact figure for the campaign goal. He said, however, that “the amount we’re talking about is incredible.”

Administrators have said that House renewal, one of the projects most likely to benefit from the campaign, will alone cost between $1 billion to $1.3 billion.

“The number one priority from my point of view is House renewal,” Malkin said. “There are a lot of alumni who have very fond memories of the House in which they [lived].”

Other likely priorities include University construction in Allston, expansion of Harvard’s financial aid program, and initiatives to promote “teaching and learning.”

University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 said that plans for Allston would likely “figure prominently” in the campaign.

“What I would like to see happen in Allston is for it to become a model for collaboration across disciplines for the University,” Garber said.

The University recently announced a $30 million gift from Joseph J. O’Donnell ’67 and Katherine A. O’Donnell as a major quiet phase donation.

In 1999, Harvard wrapped up its last capital campaign, which totaled at $2.6 billion.

Discussions regarding the upcoming capital campaign have been in the works since just after the previous one concluded. The resignation of University President Lawrence H. Summers in 2005 and the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 forced administrators to delay the planning process until recently.

As the University moves closer to publicly announcing its current campaign, administrators say that the state of the economy continues to affect their decisions.

“We are operating in a world that’s a little more unpredictable in terms of where the economy is going,” Faust said. “We want to make sure that we understand the environment really well before we go public.”

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at hrouse@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at jworland@college.harvard.edu.

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