Athletic Department Prepares for Capital Campaign

The Department of Athletics has laid the groundwork for its role in the University’s upcoming capital campaign, according to Harvard Director of Athletics Robert L. Scalise.

Scalise said the department is hoping to enhance varsity, club, and recreational programs, as well as taking on facilities renovation projects.

“We’ve proposed both some facility projects and some ways to attract and develop outstanding people, and ways to improve our programs for the committee that’s looking at the campaign to consider,” he said.

Scalise declined to discuss specifics as to the scope of the campaign, both in terms of fundraising targets and which facilities would likely be part of the renovations.

Besides some independent fundraising, the Athletic Department will work in close conjunction with University administrators who will have a hand in the sports-specific elements of the campaign.


“[The department is] about to get ready to undertake a capital campaign, and that means a lot of work, a lot of planning from President [Drew G.] Faust on down to the deans,” said Tim Murphy, head coach of the football team. “Eventually it’s going to affect us all, but it’s a long term approach.”

At the moment, it is unclear which teams will be most dramatically affected by potential changes.

While the upcoming campaign will benefit the department at large, Harvard athletics has undertaken smaller efforts targeting more specific causes in recent years.

In 2006, the Athletic Department made changes to Harvard Stadium, adding lights, artificial turf, and a seasonal protective bubble that allows for winter-time use of the field. Alumni donations funded the multi-million dollar project.

Among the donors was Albert H. Gordon ’23, the namesake of Harvard’s indoor track and one of the biggest donors to the athletic department in University history, who died in 2009. His son, long-time donor Albert F. Gordon ’59, publicly criticized the Athletic Department a year ago.

But Scalise remains optimistic about the department’s alumni outreach over the next several years.

“We feel like we’ve had some good input, and we hope both that the committee [planning the campaign] agrees with some of the things we’d like to do and that we have some donors who would be interested in funding these things, which would impact a lot of broad areas of student life,” he said.

—Christina C. McClintock contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer E. Benjamin Samuels can be reached at