BOSTON, Sept 21 Harvard, the richest university
in the United States, announced on Saturday it will seek to
raise some $6.5 billion in donations to fund new academic
initiatives and bolster its financial aid program.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based 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.
The money will help Harvard, ranked America's No.2
university behind Princeton by U.S. News & World Report this
year, "ensure its leadership role in the rapidly shifting
landscape of higher education", it said.
Nearly half of the money will support teaching and research
initiatives, while a quarter will be used to fund financial aid
and related programs. The rest will go toward capital
improvements and a flexible fund, Harvard said.
Harvard Provost Alan Garber said in an emailed statement
that donating to the university was a way for people "to improve
the world and advance causes they care about."
Harvard already has an investment portfolio worth around
$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.
A Harvard spokeswoman did not immediately comment on why the
universtity required the donation drive in order to fund the new
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
The science building was slated to be the cornerstone of an
ambitious 50-year expansion plan designed to increased the
campus size by 50 percent.