Harvard asks donors for $6.5 billion

BOSTON Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:08pm EDT

1 of 2. Campaign co-chair David M. Rubenstein (L) and William H. Gates speak during 'The Opportunity to Make a Difference' discussion at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in this September 21, 2013 handout provided by Harvard University.

Credit: Reuters/Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer/Handout via Reuters

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Harvard, the richest university in the United States, said on Saturday it would seek to raise some $6.5 billion in donations to fund new academic initiatives and bolster its financial aid program.

The fundraising drive by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution is believed to be the most ambitious ever undertaken by a university, ahead of one concluded last year by Stanford University in California that raised $6.2 billion.

Harvard unveiled its campaign at an event featuring Bill Gates, who spent three years at the school in the 1970s before dropping out to co-found Microsoft Corp.

Gates, who was ranked by Forbes magazine this year as the world's second-richest person behind Mexico's Carlos Slim, joked about his decision to leave the university during a talk before alumni and donors.

"You never say that you are 'dropping out' of Harvard. I 'went on leave' from Harvard," he said. "If things hadn't worked out for my company, Microsoft, I could have come back."

The university has already raised $2.8 billion from more than 90,000 donors during the pre-launch phase of the campaign, its first major fundraising drive in more than a decade, it said in a press release.

Harvard's investment portfolio is worth about $30.7 billion, roughly the size of the annual gross domestic product of the Baltic nation of Latvia.

That endowment shrank 0.05 percent in the fiscal year ended in 2012, after double-digit gains the previous year, according to the most recent figures from the university.

"The endowment is meant to last forever. ... It enables our faculty to do groundbreaking research and supports financial aid for our students," Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development Tamara Rogers said in a statement. "In order to undertake new activities, we are going to have to raise new funds."

Nearly half of the money raised in the new campaign will support teaching and research, while a quarter will go for financial aid and related programs. The rest will go toward capital improvements and a flexible fund, according to Harvard, recently ranked America's No. 2 university behind Princeton by U.S. News & World Report.

Four years ago, Harvard was forced to suspend its campus expansion and put the construction of a $1 billion science complex on hold after its endowment lost 27.3 percent during the financial crisis.

The science building was slated to be the cornerstone of an ambitious 50-year expansion plan designed to increase the campus size by 50 percent.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Peter Cooney)

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Comments (3)
ItIsAllSoEasy wrote:
The Great Business Lesson here is: Get money from others, spend the money, then get more money from more people. And spend that money too. Then get more money. Such Genius! How much do brilliant young minds pay to learn this at the world’s finest schools?

Sep 21, 2013 3:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DeathOvercome wrote:
Money-Eating Colleges, ahead of anybody else, entice people into ignorance, the transgression that kills.

How so?

The point for our physical existence on earth is To Overcome The Curse Of Death, yet they insist in “learning” from the dead and dying… (“how to” live), as well as in the perpetuation of enslavement to animal-like, loveless sex and pseudo-powerful money, paper with the faces of DEAD hewn men (Daniel 4:10 to 17), thus missing this one singular, often-stressed and well-published point with their far-fetched, complicated concoctions of “truth”, while simplicity, the only genius, lies far beneath them, so they claim.

Sep 21, 2013 4:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Big2Tex wrote:
Harvard…over-rated, over funded, teaches mush, not substance, should go away and be replaced by a trade school or community college.

Sep 21, 2013 8:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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