Alumni and friends gather to kick off $1.75 billion campaign
More than 700 alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends gathered under banners bearing striking images and inspiring words in Jadwin Gymnasium Friday evening, Nov. 9, to kick off the University's comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise $1.75 billion over the next five years.
"Being the best and remaining the best means constantly assessing what we do and finding ways we can be better,'" Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman told the crowd. "Please join us in imagining and realizing the very bright future of Princeton."
The dinner highlighted three days of events marking the launch of the campaign. In addition to a keynote address by Tilghman, the event included remarks by Campaign Co-chairs Robert S. Murley of the class of 1972 and Nancy B. Peretsman of the class of 1976 and Annual Giving Chair Rajiv Vinnakota of the class of 1993.
Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History, also spoke, commenting on the great strides Princeton has made in the 30 years he has been at the University.
"Thanks to three inspired presidents -- Bill Bowen, Harold Shapiro and Shirley Tilghman -- and to the extraordinary support of trustees and alumni, we now strive for excellence in every field of the arts and sciences," he said. "Thanks to the gradual expansion of the student body and of financial aid, moreover, Princeton attracts more wonderful students than ever. It's constantly exciting to play a small part in this big enterprise -- to work at a place where [faculty members] David Spergel and Bonnie Bassler, Katherine Newman and Simon Gikandi, and their amazing students, keep transforming everything we thought we knew. But to remain a great center of discovery, we have to keep moving into new fields; and to do that, at the highest level, we turn to you for help."
The campaign, bearing the name "Aspire: A Plan for Princeton," will focus on a set of priorities that includes strengthening the core Princeton experience, providing unrestricted funds through the Annual Giving program, and raising funds to enhance the University's capacities in the critical areas of engineering and the environment, the creative and performing arts, neuroscience, and national and global citizenship.
"Princeton aspires to make the world a better place through the power of the mind and the imagination, the insights and discoveries of its faculty, and the contributions of its alumni in their careers and communities," Tilghman said earlier. "If we want to open the doors of opportunity even wider and continue to provide the best possible learning environment for our students and faculty, we must constantly be moving forward. Through this campaign, we're encouraging all Princetonians to help shape the future of the University by providing the resources necessary to meet its highest priorities."
Dedicated alumni volunteers will help conduct the campaign, under the leadership of Murley and Peretsman. During the first two years of the campaign, the University's Annual Giving effort will be led by Vinnakota.
A "quiet phase" of fundraising that began in July 2005 already has secured more than $610 million in gifts and pledges toward the overall campaign goal. According to the campaign co-chairs, meeting the $1.75 billion goal will require support from donors dedicated to Princeton's mission and to ensuring that the University continues to conduct research on the frontiers of knowledge and produce leaders in their career fields and communities.
"There are areas, even areas of great strength, where Princeton must make strategic investments to stay on the cutting edge," said Murley, a longtime University trustee and chairman of investment banking for the Americas at Credit Suisse. "Quality is expensive, and Princeton's stellar faculty, outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs, and commitment to teaching and research on the frontiers of human knowledge require significant resources."
The campaign is Princeton's fourth and largest formal fundraising campaign in its 261-year history. It is a comprehensive campaign, which means that it is seeking to raise unrestricted funds through each year's Annual Giving campaign, as well as dedicated funds to create endowed positions and programs, and to support new and existing initiatives, major building, infrastructure and other capital projects. The most recent campaign, the 1995-2000 Anniversary Campaign for Princeton, which marked Princeton's 250th anniversary, raised $1.14 billion, exceeding its initial goal of $750 million and its revised goal of $900 million.
"In this campaign, we are aspiring to respond to the challenges of our time, and make Princeton an even better place for teaching and learning," said Peretsman, another long-serving University trustee and managing director of the investment banking firm Allen & Co. LLC. "This is our responsibility to the generations that came before us and the generations who will follow."
Campaign priorities outlined
An examination of Princeton's programs in teaching and research has identified a table of needs that establishes fundraising goals for each of six priority areas in the campaign:
$250 million to be raised for Annual Giving
The Annual Giving fundraising program is at the heart of Princeton's yearly tradition of alumni and friends giving back to the University, and it is essential in that it provides unrestricted funds that flow directly to the operating budget.
Funds from Annual Giving support teaching and learning and the University's cutting-edge financial aid program, and are available to meet emerging needs and challenges, in addition to providing start-up money for new initiatives. An example of these include the recently announced Global Initiatives Funds and Global Scholars program. Both have been provided with more than $1 million from Annual Giving so they can begin this year to fund international collaboration and research abroad for Princeton faculty and graduate students in support of efforts to help Princeton meet global challenges.
$325 million to be raised for engineering, energy and the environment
Engineering intersects with the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences departments in a distinctive way at Princeton, preparing students to be leaders in many areas. A comprehensive plan for the future of engineering at the University calls for: establishing a new standard for engineering education in the 21st century; emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration; and building on the program's strengths in theoretical and fundamental research to find lasting solutions to urgent societal problems.
This approach is especially well-suited to address critical issues related to energy and the environment where Princeton is already a world leader, but it aspires to make even greater contributions through collaborations that will draw on faculty in the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The University is seeking major funds for state-of-the-art facilities and equipment; building an innovative curriculum; expanding research capacity in areas such as health, energy and the environment, and technology policy; and hiring additional faculty to advance Princeton's intersecting missions of teaching and research.
$325 million to be raised for exploration in the arts
The launch of the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in January 2006 has allowed Princeton to begin increasing the impact of the arts on campus and the surrounding community. With the goal of enabling all students to participate in the arts, a $101 million gift from Peter B. Lewis, a 1955 graduate and University trustee, helped establish the center and also contributed to the advance fund of the campaign.
The University now is seeking additional funds for designated arts facilities, and to support programs in music, visual arts, creative writing, theater and dance, and the distinctive Princeton Atelier. Funds also will be raised for additional program support, and collection and exhibition space for the Princeton University Art Museum.
$300 million to be raised for neuroscience, genomics and theoretical physics
The field of neuroscience is attracting many of the very best students and scientists of our time, and University leaders believe that Princeton is poised to become an international leader in studies of human brain function and the brain's relationship to behavior. In 2005, Princeton announced the establishment of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute to enhance its existing capacities in this field, but it needs to make further investments in advanced instrumentation, teaching laboratories and distinguished faculty. Princeton also is seeking to secure new resources for its already pre-eminent program in genomics and the creation of a new Center for Theoretical Physics.
$300 million to be raised for national and global citizenship
A new international vision for Princeton outlined last month by Tilghman and Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber sets forth the goal of extending the University's global reach. The campaign will raise funds for language studies, a wide range of opportunities for study abroad, international collaborations that include permanent support for the Global Initiatives Funds and Global Scholars program to bring scholars from across the world to Princeton, and for multidisciplinary programs in international and regional studies.
In addition, efforts to deepen an understanding of American society will include more resources for the new Center for African American Studies. This campaign goal builds on the University's unofficial motto of "Princeton in the Nation's Service and in the Service of All Nations."
$250 million to be raised for sustaining and strengthening the Princeton experience
University leaders have determined that future generations of students can benefit from additional funds dedicated to three priority areas at the heart of the Princeton experience: financial aid, teaching, and campus and residential life.
Undergraduate scholarships and Princeton's groundbreaking "no-loan" financial aid program ensure that the University can admit and enroll the best undergraduate students regardless of their financial circumstances. Currently 54 percent of this year's freshman class receive financial aid. At the same time, graduate fellowships attract the best scholars from around the world to pursue advanced degrees. According to campaign leaders, funds to continue this student support will help sustain a diverse student body, which is an important component of a learning environment that prepares students for leadership roles in the 21st century.
In the area of teaching, the University is seeking funds that will allow continued investment in distinguished faculty and the distinctive curricular programs that allow students to work directly with renowned scholars and teachers. These include precepts, established by Woodrow Wilson in 1905, in which small groups of students gather weekly under the guidance of a preceptor to discuss classroom lectures and reading assignments; the senior thesis, which provides students with a unique opportunity to pursue original research and scholarship; and independent work during the junior year. Funds from the campaign will be dedicated to support faculty positions and for such programs as the Freshman Seminars that give students opportunities to take small-group courses with many of Princeton's most distinguished faculty members in students' freshman year.
In addition, to academic life, the Princeton experience is shaped by extracurricular activities and a strong residential culture in which essentially all undergraduates live on campus. The campaign will raise funds for initiatives that include facilities to complete the four-year residential college system launched this fall, facilities and programming for varsity and recreational athletics, programs to promote health and well-being, and organizations and projects that promote civic engagement.
An inclusive effort
The campaign's volunteer leadership reflects a wide range of Princeton experiences.
The campaign executive committee comprises 30 men and women from undergraduate and graduate classes ranging from the class of 1952 to the class of 2001, with long and distinguished records of volunteer service to Princeton. According to the campaign leadership, one goal of the campaign is to encourage participation from a wide range of members of the Princeton University community -- alumni, parents and friends.
"I feel strongly about this campaign, not only because it's raising money for important goals, but also because one of its objectives is a commitment to diversity -- to continuing to reach out to Princetonians of different races, abilities and backgrounds, but united in their devotion to Princeton," Annual Giving Chair Vinnakota said.
Following the dinner on Friday evening, campaign kickoff events will continue on Saturday, Nov. 10, during the Princeton-Yale football game that starts at 1 p.m. One of the early gifts to the campaign, Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, will be dedicated at halftime. The campaign is scheduled to end June 30, 2012.
"We are all proud of today's Princeton," Tilghman said, "and we're confident that at the completion of this campaign, we will be in an even better position to meet our highest aspirations in accord with a plan that identifies our highest priorities."
More information on the campaign, including fundraising updates, is available on the University's giving website.