Boston University Launches First-Ever Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign

CONTACT: Tom Testa, 617-353-7628,

(Boston) — Boston University today formally launched the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in its 173-year history with a $1 billion goal — believed the largest for any school’s first-time effort — aimed at financing an array of new and enhanced mission goals envisioned for future stability and growth, according to President Robert A. Brown.

“It has become clear that our alumni and other friends are prepared to support this ambitious effort, so we are moving forward,” said Brown, who laid the groundwork for the campaign in 2005 when he became president and initiated work on a strategic plan that identified BU’s strengths and set priorities for its future that would necessitate changes in funding strategy. “Nothing will be more important for the future of the University than our success.”

The strategic plan — “Choosing to be Great” — identified priorities to enrich and nurture what were seen as the BU’s strengths, including a renowned faculty, increasingly gifted student body, healthy finances, and its international students and programs. The new comprehensive campaign seeks to bankroll those goals, Brown said, because “a vision without a budget is a hallucination.”

Specifically, the overall objective for the campaign is to allocate:

– $150 million for students to ensure BU remains accessible to highly qualified candidates;
– $200 million to help recruit and retain outstanding faculty, continue raising salaries to competitive levels, and increase the number of endowed professorships;
– $250 million to support research;
– $150 million to maintain and improve facilities;
– $150 million for special programs such as career services, libraries, and athletics;
– and $100 million for unrestricted and current-use gifts.

The campaign aims to expand the deans’ advisory boards at BU’s 16 schools and colleges and to double participation to 50,000 among alumni in the traditional Annual Fund. It also includes an unprecedented “Century Challenge” in which donations of $100,000 or more to an endowed undergraduate scholarship fund will have the annual payout matched from the financial aid budget for 100 years (up to a maximum of $100 million) – in effect doubling the impact of the donor’s named gift.

“Nobody’s ever done this,” said BU Senior VP for Development and Alumni Relations Scott Nichols of the Century Challenge concept. “I’ve been working in development forever, and I’ve never heard any institution figure this out – Bob Brown did.”

Nichols said BU trustees and overseers — recognizing that a major fundraising effort will ease the pressure to rely on tuition hikes – have collectively pledged $130 million of the $420 million already raised to kick-start the campaign during the two-year “quiet period” preceding the campaign’s formal launch. Gifts have included $25 million from trustee Rajen Kilachand, the largest in BU history, to endow the Arvid and Chandan Nadlal Kilachand Honors College, and $15 million from trustee Bahaa Hariri for the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering. Gifts also made possible a new School of Medicine student residence, the expansion and renovation of the School of Law, and the New Balance athletic field now under construction.

“BU is now at a stage where it is breaking through,” said BU trustee and campaign chair Kenneth Feld. “The level of fame that has come to BU internationally is extraordinary. This is the absolute right time.”

About Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 32,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU contains 16 colleges and schools and a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

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