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Harvard Medical School Caps Off Capital Campaign with $789 Million

The main quad at Harvard Medical School.
The main quad at Harvard Medical School. By Krystal K. Phu
By Luke W. Vrotsos, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Medical School completed its capital campaign with $789 million raised, slightly exceeding its goal of $750 million, according to data provided by the school.

The school’s campaign, entitled “The World Is Waiting: The Campaign for Harvard Medicine,” was divided between four priorities: education, discovery, service, and leadership.

Discovery — which mostly entails research — brought in by far the largest tally at $496 million, school spokesperson Gina Vild wrote in an email. Education garnered the least, at $70 million. Roughly $1 million have yet to be designated to one of the four priorities.

Campaign chair Joshua Boger said the campaign drew mostly upon donors who did not attend the Medical School because the school has a relatively small number of alumni.

“Very little of the money that we raised came from alumni of Harvard Medical School. That’s not because Harvard Medical School alumni aren’t generous; there just aren’t very many of them,” he said.

Boger added that the small alumni base can make it more difficult to fundraise for education as opposed to research because people are more inclined to give to a school they attended.

“I think the place where the campaign probably had the hardest time was in some of the education facilities ideas,” he said, referring to renovating or expanding classroom spaces. “When you’re not talking principally to people who ever went to Harvard Medical School, that’s a hard sell.”

Using money from the campaign, Harvard Medical School will be able to establish 12 new professorships at the school itself, and 57 at affiliated hospitals, according to Vild. In total, just under 10,000 donors made gifts.

The school’s campaign forms one part of the University’s broader capital campaign, which brought in a record-breaking $9.6 billion, administrators announced last month. The Medical School’s Longwood neighbor, the School of Public Health, posted a $933 million total.

The Medical School publicly launched its campaign and announced its goal in 2014, after raising about $375 million in “quiet phase” cash. It passed the $750 million goal in February.

Harvard Medical School has faced difficulties making ends meet in recent years. The school has ended nine of the 10 most recent years with operating deficits, including a $44 million shortfall in the most recent year.

These budget woes prompted the school to sell its research facility at 4 Blackfan Circle. After receiving at least a dozen bids, the school sold the building to Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation for $272.5 million.

—Staff writer Luke W. Vrotsos can be reached at

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Harvard Medical SchoolFundraisingCapital CampaignLongwood