More than 175,000 donors gave $1.85 billion. That’s the big headline from Boston University’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, which wrapped up in September 2019.

Since we launched the Campaign for Boston University in 2012 with an ambitious goal of $1 billion, over 250 alumni and friends made commitments of $1 million or more, while 1,300+ others committed $100,000 or more. And history was made with our largest-ever commitment—$150 million.

Also inspiring is that more than 94,000 people joined the cause with gifts of $100 or less, collectively contributing $4 million. On campus, faculty and staff generously gave $57 million, while our students dedicated more than 1.8 million hours of volunteer service. Overall, a decidedly community affair.

$1.85B in gifts and donations

175,000+ individual donors

1,300+ commitments of $100,000 or more

79,360 alumni donors, up 109%

$57M in faculty and staff donations

267 new scholarships and fellowships

54 three-year career development professorships awarded

58 new full professorships

1.8M hours of volunteer service performed by BU students

$3.27M raised by 11,886 alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends over a 24-hour period during BU’s sixth annual Giving Day

While we’re proud of these numbers and what’s behind them, we should also talk impact.

This combined generosity has yielded new and renovated campus buildings to benefit scholarship and student life, the addition of interdisciplinary research centers, the remaking of entire schools, and a significant boost in financial aid with the goal of increasing the diversity of our student population.

One need only stroll down Comm Ave to witness the transformation: the nine-story, cutting-edge Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering; the buzzing BUild Lab IDG Capital Student Innovation Center; the glass-fronted Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre; the inviting new home of the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground; and, coming soon, the dramatic 19-story Center for Computing & Data Sciences.

But a top driver in the campaign was elevating the lives of first-generation attending college and underserved-minority students through new or expanded scholarships and grants. To that end, the campaign added 267 new scholarships and fellowships.

Donors have also given generously to support our faculty, endowing 58 chairs for professors who are leaders in their research and teaching fields, and awarding 54 three-year career development professorships from 2012 to 2019.

“How do you become a leading research university? How do you hire the great faculty? How do you give access to highly qualified students? How do you undertake the big initiatives?” President Robert A. Brown asks. “That’s where philanthropy really matters.”

But the campaign’s success reaches beyond upgrading facilities, expanding research, increasing named professorships, and growing student financial aid.

“It has changed the culture by showing the alumni and the Boston University community that their support of and investment in the University makes a real difference,” says Board of Trustees Chairman Kenneth J. Feld (Questrom’70), who chaired the campaign. “That has instilled a sense of pride in being involved with Boston University that bodes well for the future of the institution.”

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