When the clock struck midnight on July 1, it signaled the end of two milestones in Harvard’s history: Drew Faust completed her tenure as the University’s 28th president, and The Harvard Campaign came to a close.
With the public phase launched by Faust in 2013, the campaign saw more than 153,000 households from 173 countries contribute more than 633,000 gifts. Yet these numbers tell only a small fraction of the story.
“The support you’ve given to Harvard has allowed us to meet the central challenge we laid out when we publicly launched the campaign: to seize an impatient future,” Faust told an audience of donors and volunteers in April 2018. “This campaign has helped shape and secure Harvard’s future by investing in both the enduring and emerging — sustaining what we have always been, and indeed must always be, as well as challenging us and enabling us in who we must become.”
Through philanthropic leadership, months and years of service, and their belief in Harvard’s mission, alumni and donors have made an enduring investment in the talent, knowledge, and community that defines Harvard.
“As new challenges and opportunities arise in higher education and beyond, Harvard is well positioned to respond and adapt thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends,” said President Larry Bacow. “It is equally important that we lead by example as we seek to make the world a better place through our teaching and scholarship. We are enormously grateful to those who have supported us in this effort.”
Expanding access to education is one of Harvard’s bedrock values. With this comes a commitment to ensuring cost does not divert students from pursuing their passions, to making certain that talented students, regardless of their geography or background, know that they are not only welcome at Harvard but sincerely wanted and sought after. Through the campaign, the University has opened wider the gates of learning. Of the $9.62 billion raised spanning all Schools, approximately $1.3 billion will support and expand financial aid. Scholarships and fellowships make it possible for extraordinary students studying in every discipline to become innovators in their fields and leaders in their communities, regardless of their financial circumstances.
During the campaign, donors generously funded 142 endowed professorships University-wide to support current faculty and bring new scholars in a range of disciplines. This investment will fuel the transformative, critically important work of both junior faculty and tenured scholars and researchers — developing innovations, ideas that matter, and solutions that are key to addressing society’s most immediate challenges. Faculty now have even greater means to share their knowledge more widely and more effectively.
Philanthropic support created and expanded Harvard programs that produce significant scientific research; this work is essential to spurring progress and solving the most complex issues, from climate change to cancer research.
Other programs that benefited from support are helping to shape culture and society across the spectrum of fields, from enriching the arts and humanities to inspiring innovations in education, business, design, and government; and fostering cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange, expanding appreciation for difference and deepening an understanding of how to work and live with one another.
Beyond campus, Harvard engaged its community of alumni and friends throughout the campaign. Thousands of volunteers served on 46 campaign committees; class fundraising committees, including the Harvard College Fund; dean’s advisory boards; and other development and alumni engagement committees across Harvard’s Schools. Thousands more alumni participated in programs and events — including the Harvard Alumni Association’s Your Harvard, which visited 17 cities around the world.
“One of the many things that campaigns do — in addition to generating resources — is to foster volunteerism and create and build community in support of a shared purpose,” said Tamara Elliott Rogers, vice president of alumni affairs and development. “Our community of dedicated volunteers has been strengthened during the campaign, and our shared purpose is a commitment to Harvard and to serving society.”
“Throughout the campaign the level of engagement among alumni was extraordinary — not only as donors, but also as volunteers and as active participants in events such as Your Harvard,” said Paul Finnegan ’75, M.B.A. ’82, University treasurer and campaign co-chair. “Our alumni community demonstrated a solid commitment to University initiatives that puts Harvard in a lot stronger position and affords President Bacow and the leadership an exciting opportunity to move us forward.”
Perhaps one of the most visible impacts of the campaign has been the expansion and reimagining of the University’s physical campus. New and renovated facilities constructed over the past five years include spaces for teaching and research that encourage discovery and academic growth across the disciplines; facilities that support and expand Harvard athletics and the values of teamwork, discipline, and persistence; student housing renewal, helping to provide a student experience that is intellectually, personally, and socially transformative; spaces for performance, art-making, and community-gathering that facilitate and cultivate a wide range of creative, multidisciplinary collaborations; and labs that connect students and faculty in search of new and groundbreaking solutions, from engineers to designers, scientists to entrepreneurs.
(Reprinted with permission from the Harvard Gazette.)