Development drive kicks off

Beinecke Plaza will be crawling with the rich and powerful this weekend, as Yale kicks off a campaign to raise $3 billion during the next five years.

On Saturday, Yale President Richard Levin is expected to announce several early monetary commitments secured in the last three years during the campaign’s “quiet phase.” The weekend’s events mark a much more public phase of the effort, which will raise money to enhance the Yale College curriculum, improve graduate schools, and expand the University’s international reach.

The most important goal of the campaign is raising money to build new international connections, Levin said in a press statement.

“Above all, we need to complete the transformation of Yale from a local to a regional to a national to an international university,” Levin said.

Levin will detail the campaign’s progress at a dinner in Commons, where the University will be honoring its top donors, Associate Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill said. Administrators refused to comment on the exact size and nature of the gifts they have secured, but said the effort has been successful so far.

“We are very pleased,” O’Neill. “If we looked at our progress, we’re ahead of where we hoped to be.”

As of a year ago, University officials said they had secured at least $400 million in “activity total,” a category that includes both pledged donations and outright gifts. One administration official said he did not know the total to date, but said the University would probably have secured between $500 million and $1 billion before embarking on the campaign’s active phase.

O’Neill said none of the gifts to be announced Saturday are as large as the $100 million anonymous donation made to Yale’s School of Music last fall. That gift allowed the school to waive tuition fees for all its students. Another $50 million gift announced on Thursday will help establish programs related to China.

Levin’s fundraising efforts during the quiet phase of the campaign have addressed a variety of University concerns, Associate Provost Emily Bakemeier said.

“The president has been traveling extensively for the past couple of years, and he’s been talking to an extraordinary number of individuals, foundations and corporations about big gifts,” she said. “It ranges from international activities to the arts and endeavors across the University.”

In a statement released last week, the administration outlined the campaign’s most important goals in four areas. The first area involves new initiatives for Yale College, including greater opportunities for students to work and study abroad, improvements in the science curriculum, and a greater role for professional schools in undergraduate studies — particularly with respect to the arts. The University also hopes to secure funding for a recent expansion in undergraduate financial aid.

The second area targeted for fundraising is the construction and renovation of the University’s arts facilities, which is expected to cost roughly $500 million. Officials also aim to raise $100 million for scholarships in the arts. The third area addresses science facilities and faculty, and the fourth area concerns Yale’s connections to the rest of the world — including creating new professorships in international studies and increasing opportunities for students to go abroad.

The weekend’s events include a multimedia presentation on the campaign in Sprague Hall and a series of lectures and discussions. Six hundred donors are expected to attend.

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