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Business School Aims To Raise $1 Billion in Campaign

School Ambition Represents About 15 Percent of the University-Wide Goal

By Alexander H. Patel, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: April 25, 2014, at 3:33 p.m.

Harvard Business School aims to raise $1 billion in its portion of Harvard’s ongoing capital campaign, a total that accounts for 15 percent of the University’s $6.5 billion goal, the school announced at its campaign launch on Friday.

The school has already raised $600 million in gifts and pledges, putting it well on its way to fulfilling its share of the University-wide goal, the most ambitious in Harvard’s history, according to a press release.

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The School’s priorities, articulated broadly, include investments in innovation and financial aid.

The day-long launch, which brought together top-level administrators, faculty, students, and alumni for panels, discussions, and announcements, comes nearly eight months after the University-wide launch last September, which concluded the campaign’s three-year quiet phase and kicked off its public phase. The campaign is expected to last until 2018.

According to the School’s campaign website, priorities include developing innovative approaches to education such as field-based learning, bolstering financial aid, and supporting efforts to recruit faculty and cultivate faculty research endeavors. The School has also stated commitments to enriching the global perspective of its student body and educational programs, as well as better integrating with other schools at Harvard.

The Business School, which offers MBA, Doctoral, and executive education programs, has recently expanded in online education through its new digital platform HBX, as well with global immersion programs for its students. Significant capital investments have been allocated in recent years toward the school’s publishing arm, which distributes a variety of business and management education materials, and toward the improvement and expansion of its executive education program, according to the school’s 2013 annual report.

Speakers at the launch events included University President Drew G. Faust, Business School Dean Nitin Nohria, and Business School campaign chair John B. Hess ’75.

In her remarks, Faust highlighted the role of the school in the Harvard community as a whole, particularly within of the context of the University’s expansion into Allston, just north of the Business School’s campus.

“Harvard Business School will be physically at the center of Harvard’s campus,” she said. “But this is just a first step as we plan for a future research enterprise zone that will have partnerships that reach beyond the University to the broader for-profit and not-for-profit world, and as we plan other academic endeavors in the extraordinary spaces that Allston makes available to us.”

Faust also spoke of the Business School as a driving force for societal good, a theme that was emphasized throughout the night’s event.

“The public has lost trust in business. Business and society have never been more divided,” said Hess, who earned his MBA at Harvard in 1977. “In an era of budget austerity and political gridlock, business is called upon to play a larger role in providing social good. And we need the public to understand how important Harvard Business School is to this effort.”

Hess is joined by 18 honorary co-chairs, including former Business School Jay O. Light and prominent University donor Hansjörg Wyss, as well as dozens of regional chairs and committee members.

Another prominent theme of the launch was the importance of innovation in the school’s future.

Nohria, who has set forth priorities for the school similar to the ones articulated Friday since his appointment in 2010, said that novel and innovative endeavors brought forth from the campaign will help to bring security to the school’s future.

“In the end, I believe that the most important goal of this campaign, and its most important accomplishment, will be to give Harvard Business School the courage and the capacity to be innovativenot just now, but to be innovative in the future,” he said. “This is a time when we must invest in innovation. The world is changing very rapidly. The health of the business school sector is not secure.”

He also said that funds collected would be used to bolster financial aid, both for students to attend the Business School and for graduates to pursue careers in public service, non-profit work, and healthcare, among other fields, as well as toward faculty development and research. He added that funds would also be invested in the maintenance and improvement of the school’s facilities.

Early gifts for the campaign, which comprise 60 percent of its $1 billion goal, include donations such as funding for Tata Hall from Indian businessman Ratan N. Tata and the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, on which the school broke ground on Thursday, from the Chao family.

The school’s last fundraising drive run by the school ended in 2005, having raised nearly $600 million, $100 million more than its intended goal.

“I am delighted,” concluded Faust, “to launch a campaign that will advance business education at Harvard and strengthen Harvard Business School in its commitment to bringing the leaders and the ideas that will enhance prosperity and well-being across the globe. This is a campaign about making a difference.”

The launch coincided with the announcement of a global, 18-month alumni engagement tour and a newly launched alumni website to increase interaction with and among alumni, according to the press release.

Among portions of the University that have launched their own campaigns thus far, the Business School’s goal trails only that of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard’s flagship arm, which announced in October that it sought to raise $2.5 billion.

—Staff writer Alexander H. Patel can be reached at Follow him on twitter @alexhpatel.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: April 26, 2014

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the year in which Business School Dean Nitin Nohria assumed his deanship. In fact, it was 2010.

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