Univ. raises $1.3 billion

After years of hushed wining and dining, the University has raised approximately $1.3 billion, or 43 percent of its $3 billion fundraising goal for the next five years, Yale President Richard Levin announced Saturday night.

The most recent incarnation of the University’s Capital Campaign, dubbed “Yale Tomorrow,” was launched this weekend with a series of events for early alumni contributors. The announcement comes after two years of a “quiet phase” of fundraising, which began on July 1, 2004, and ran through June 30 of this year. Levin and other top University officials used this time to shore up support from Yale’s biggest supporters and gain momentum before a public campaign.

The largest gift received was the $100 million anonymous donation to the School of Music announced last October, Reichenbach said. The total also includes five gifts of approximately $50 million each, she said. One of those gifts, announced Thursday, will fund initiatives related to China, though University officials have declined to announce the remaining gifts yet.

Additional gifts and pledges were received over the summer, and the figure announced Saturday night is the total amount of gifts and pledges received to this point, Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said. The launch of the campaign was well-received by the alumni in attendance, Reichenbach said.

“I’m very pleased with how the launch went because we got really good feedback from parents, alumni and friends who attended,” she said. “We had wonderful participation by the faculty.”

Campaign launch events began on Friday with a dinner. On Saturday, alumni attended lectures delivered by faculty, including a foreign policy panel with professors Ernesto Zedillo, John Gaddis and Ian Shapiro and a talk on architect Philip Johnson by history of art professor Vincent Scully. Historian David McCullough ’53 spoke after lunch on Saturday, which was held on tents on Old Campus.

On Saturday night, a multimedia video presentation in Sprague Hall emceed by actor Sam Waterston ’62 preceded a black-tie mixer on Beinecke Plaza and dinner in Commons catered by New York-based catering company Abigail Kirsch.

At the end of dinner, Levin took to the podium before several hundred guests in attendance and spoke on the purpose of the campaign and the amount raised thus far.

“There remains so much more to do, transforming Yale into a truly global institution serving not only New Haven but the world,” Levin said in his speech. “Universities are capable of building bridges of understanding in a way governments can’t.”

At the conclusion of the speech, several Yale Corporation fellows — Len Baker, Senior Fellow Roland Betts, Ed Bass, Susan Crown and Charles Ellis — as well as current and former chairs of the Alumni Fund — Josh Beckenstein and William Wright II, who played a role in fundraising efforts during the past two years, joined Levin on the stage.

Betts spoke on the importance of giving to Yale and its role in furthering the mission of the University.

“We depend on your involvement, your generosity and your stewardship,” Betts said. “We know we stand on common ground, a deep, abiding and unending love of this institution, and for that we thank you.”

Student singers drawn from groups including the Duke’s Men, Slavic Chorus, the New Blue and the Whiffenpoofs capped off the dinner with a modified version of the song “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie,” substituting “Thank you for all of Yale” for “We’re only a day away.”

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