Alumni Relations and Development
University of Chicago Campaign raises $5.43 billion to support Inquiry and Impact
Last winter, the University of Chicago announced the final results of the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in its history, raising $5.43 billion to support pioneering scholarship, UChicago’s transformative education and the University’s impact in Chicago and around the world.
The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact, which concluded December 31, 2019, addressed priorities in every division, school, department and institute at the University—from global engagement to scientific discovery, urban research and practice, to culture and society. Support from the campaign had already begun transforming UChicago’s campus and presence around the world, while advancing the University’s work in such key areas as financial aid, faculty scholarship, patient care at the UChicago Medical Center and community engagement.
“Today and throughout its history, the University of Chicago has benefited from committed volunteers and generous philanthropic supporters,” said President Robert J. Zimmer last February. “Their investments in research, education and impact reflect a shared commitment to the University and its enduring values of intellectual challenge, diversity of background and perspectives, and freedom of expression.”
The campaign is enabling a range of milestones at the University, from the launch of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, the nation’s first school dedicated to this emerging field, to the opening of The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. Over the course of the campaign, the University has opened a new home for the Harris School of Public Policy at the Keller Center, launched the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, expanded economic studies through the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, opened the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and started construction on the Rubenstein Forum.
A critical part of the campaign was a focus on expanded financial support for students. The campaign raised about $800 million in expanded financial support, allowing students to immerse themselves in their studies while taking advantage of an array of programs to help them connect their education to their future lives. The University’s flagship Odyssey Scholarship Program started with an anonymous gift of $100 million, and the program has systematically increased in scope thanks to sustained philanthropic commitment. These gifts provide support to meet the full financial needs of College students who qualify for financial aid, with no debt expectations for them or their families—transforming the lives of undergraduate students who otherwise could not attend the College. The University also received gifts that have dramatically increased its capacity to offer financial aid to international College students.
At the same time, because of the philanthropy connected to the campaign, professional student scholarships and significantly expanded funding for doctoral students have supported the University’s effort to bring the highest caliber of students to campus independent of background and need, and to support their work. The campaign greatly increased support for facilities and activities of global engagement, particularly through the University’s centers and campuses in Beijing, Hong Kong, Delhi, Paris and London, and in programs across the world. The University’s commitment to the city of Chicago and the South Side, and the enhancement of the University as an intellectual destination, have been critical in enhancing the University’s reach in education, research and impact.
“We are deeply grateful to the more than 160,000 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff who demonstrated extraordinary support for the University of Chicago during this campaign. Philanthropic support makes the University’s commitment to field-defining research and a transformative education possible,” said Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, chair of the Board of Trustees, who served as chair of the campaign before being elected chair of the board in 2015.
The campaign exceeded its original goals. The public phase of The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact launched with a goal of $4.5 billion. In 2017, that target was expanded to $5 billion, which the campaign has exceeded.
“In addition to the tremendous and broad-based philanthropic support received during the campaign, we were fortunate to have invaluable leadership from volunteers, parents and friends who became even closer and more active members of the University family during the campaign,” said campaign co-chair Dennis Keller, MBA’68.
The campaign is the first at UChicago to launch with an engagement goal, setting its sights on engaging 125,000 alumni. It exceeded that goal, having engaged over 134,000—or more than 70 percent of University alumni during the campaign.
“Exceeding our goal reflects how alumni are a driving force behind the University’s success. By staying connected to their alma mater, by hiring or mentoring a current student, volunteering in an alumni club or giving an annual gift, this ongoing engagement is critical to the future of UChicago,” said campaign co-chair Emily Nicklin, AB’75, JD’77.
The University has provided more information on goals and unit support on the campaign website. The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact is the University’s fifth major fundraising campaign. The most recent effort, The Chicago Initiative, ran from 2000 to 2008 and raised $2.38 billion.
Adapted from a story originally published on February 25, 2020, on UChicago News.
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