Donors Descend on Cambridge for FAS Campaign Launch

Roughly 1,000 donors, administrators, and other Harvard affiliates will gather in Cambridge beginning Friday evening to formally launch the Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences, the largest piece of the University’s $6.5 billion capital campaign that was unveiled in September.

With big-ticket items like House Renewal and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences expansion falling under FAS’s purview, the Campaign for Arts and Sciences is expected to be the largest sub-campaign of several that will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months. FAS received roughly 40 percent of funds raised in the University’s last capital campaign, which ran from 1994 to 1999.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith is expected to unveil the total fundraising goal as well as a more holistic vision for the campaign in an address Saturday morning in Sanders Theatre.

In his annual report to faculty released earlier this month Smith identified six broad fundraising priorities for the campaign: Financial Aid, House Renewal and the Student Experience, Leading in Learning, Faculty and Our Scholarly Enterprise, SEAS, and the Dean’s Leadership Fund. The University is expected to announce how much they anticipate raising for each of these priorities this weekend.

Though each of the priorities proposes new or expanded developments, FAS is also looking to the campaign to shore up its basic budgetary sustainability in the wake of the financial crisis. In the annual report, Smith and Dean for Finance and Administration Leslie A. Kirwan ’79 wrote that FAS has had to use its reserve funds at an “unsustainable rate” in recent years to keep from running large deficits, and that the body’s financial situation remains “precarious.”

Still, despite FAS’s sobering financial situation, this weekend will be a celebration of the University's largest faculty’s many diverse parts and interests.

The festivities will begin Friday evening with an invitation-only reception in Annenberg Hall, followed by a dinner in the Science Center Plaza. Saturday’s program will begin early with an 8 a.m. breakfast in the Plaza to be followed by remarks from Faust and Smith’s keynote address in Sanders Theatre. Also speaking at Saturday morning’s ceremony will be FAS campaign co-chairs Paul B. Edgerley, Sandra M. Edgerley ’84, Glenn H. Hutchins ’77, and Carl J. Martignetti ’81.

In addition to the co-chairs, a group of 35 of the University’s most prominent alumni and donors are serving on a steering committee for the FAS campaign.

After Saturday’s speeches, guests will disperse across campus for a series of eight symposia hosted by Harvard faculty, administrators, and students, on topics ranging from digital education to residential life to financial aid. Those discussions, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., will be followed by a luncheon in the Science Center Plaza and the Harvard vs. Princeton football game.

“We have designed the Campaign for Arts and Sciences to ensure that Harvard continues to be a place of discovery for people leading positive change in the world,” Smith said in a statement. “I hope Saturday’s launch events in Sanders and across the Yard will grow enthusiasm for our campaign and deepen our commitment to Harvard’s future.”

The University was in the quiet phases of a campaign for several years before the Sept. 21 launch. Its $6.5 billion campaign goal is the highest in the history of higher education.

—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at matthewclarida@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.

—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at nicholas.fandos@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @npfandos.

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