September 13, 2000

President's Page

Thank You!

Every September brings the excitement of a new academic year and focuses our attention on the future. As we look ahead this fall, I believe that the future holds unusual promise for Princeton, thanks in large part to the alumni, parents and friends of the University who helped the Anniversary Campaign reach a record-breaking total of $1.14 billion when it finally closed its books this summer. On behalf of the Trustees, I would like to express our gratitude to all whose gifts and volunteer efforts contributed to the extraordinary success of the Campaign.

The result is "extra-ordinary" in several ways. The Campaign total of $1.14 billion is un-precedented for an institution of Princeton's size. Even more important is the fact that we attained this goal through contributions from almost 80 percent of the undergraduate alumni body, along with very significant participation by graduate alumni, parents and friends. As exceptional as these participation rates are, what is perhaps more striking is the fact that this demonstration of support continues year after year. It is a sign of the remarkable devotion to Princeton and tangible continuing commitment to the University's mission of education, scholarship and service.

I was frequently reminded of this commitment as my wife, Vivian, and I traveled throughout the country and abroad during the Campaign. I was impressed again and again by a common theme that emerged during these meetings and that you also expressed in your correspondence to me about the Campaign. Many of you remarked on how fortunate or proud you felt to give to Princeton. Others told me that they felt it was a privilege to contribute. As one alumnus phrased it, "I am...enthusiastic about providing Princeton with the resources to continue the never ending pursuit of providing educational opportunities for our future leaders."

As these words suggest, Princeton alumni, parents and friends assume important responsibility for the successful achievement of the University's mission.

The level of support testifies to your belief in the social value of higher education and to your confidence in Princeton's ability to advance understanding and learning. In response to this outpouring of generosity and support we pledge that the University will continue its commitment to the highest possible standards of education, research and service.

With the assistance of your gifts, the University is building on strengths in all areas to meet the opportunities of the new century. For example, Princeton has strengthened its renowned undergraduate teaching program through new initiatives to hone pedagogical skills offered by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, through improved laboratory and classroom facilities such as McDonnell (physics) and Wallace (social sciences) Halls, and through visiting distinguished teachers. Your support is enabling faculty exploration of new fields of study. Chief among these is the work that will allow us to understand better the building blocks of life through the new Lewis/Sigler genomics institute, housed in the new Icahn laboratory. In other areas, the Campaign has given us the resources to deepen our commitment to a field, such as finance through programs sponsored by the Bendheim Center for Finance, or to bring exceptional younger scholars to campus as the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts will make possible.

The University was able to broaden significantly its undergraduate financial aid policies to make Princeton more accessible to middle and lower-income families; to extend its need-blind admission policy to include international students; and to keep tuition increases to their lowest rates in more than 30 years. Campaign gifts also will have a positive lasting impact on daily campus life. The dining possibilities, performance and film spaces, study and computer facilities that the Frist Campus Center offers bring a new dimension to campus life for all members of the University community.

For me, the benefits of the Campaign have a personal dimension also. The trips to regional Alumni Associations and the Campaign symposia and celebrations held on campus offered many opportunities to meet alumni and friends. Vivian and I are particularly grateful to all who welcomed us to their towns and often to their homes. You made our visits especially productive and informative as well as personally rewarding. It was a pleasure to meet so many of you in person.

I want to extend particular thanks to the Campaign's national co-chairs, Trustee Emeritus John J. F. Sherrerd '52, and Trustees Dennis J. Keller '63 and Janet Morrison Clarke '75, whose leadership contributed so significantly to the stunning success of the Campaign. More than 50,000 alumni, parents and friends contributed to the Campaign over its five-year span. As a tribute to the generosity of these alumni and friends, we are inscribing the names of all those who contributed on banners that will hang in the new Frist Campus Center. I will be able to celebrate the spectacular success of the Campaign with some of you in person over the course of the year as I visit 15 regional alumni associations throughout the country, and in Hong Kong and Japan, and as we dedicate various new campus facilities this fall. On those occasions, as now, the message from me will be a heartfelt "thank you!"