University celebrates successful campaign

Yale Tomorrow, the Yale Corporation’s five-year fundraising drive, contributed $3.885 billion to the University’s endowment.
Yale Tomorrow, the Yale Corporation’s five-year fundraising drive, contributed $3.885 billion to the University’s endowment. Photo by Earl Lee.

The Yale Tomorrow conclusion celebration, held this past Saturday, gave donors the opportunity to visualize the impact their gifts will have on the University.

As part of a presentation about Yale’s plans for the future, donors seated in Sprague Memorial Hall watched a video in which the camera flew through detailed mock-ups of Yale’s two new residential colleges, to be constructed in the upcoming years with funds contributed in part from the campaign. Yale Tomorrow’s most prominent volunteers and donors — those who contributed over $100,000 during the campaign — returned to campus Friday and Saturday for presentations and events designed to thank them for their support and give them a preview of its uses. The five-year fundraising drive brought in $3.885 billion in gifts to the endowment, money for construction projects and current-year funding for scholarships and student activities.

“I think it’s remarkable what we’re celebrating,” Yale Corporation Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67 said in an interview Friday. “Not only the generosity and commitment to Yale of all the contributors … but also that Yale utilizes these resources so well.”

The celebration began with a dinner in the nave of Sterling Memorial Library and ended Saturday evening with a gala on Beinecke Plaza and in Commons Dining Hall. In between, donors could attend any number of presentations led by faculty and administrators from across Yale’s schools and representing the campaign’s four focus areas: the arts, the sciences, international efforts and Yale College.

The focus areas also served as a theme for the Saturday night capstone event, called “Celebrating Tomorrow.” Under a large projector screen in Sprague Memorial Hall, three presenters from the Yale School of Drama shared alternating anecdotes about topics ranging from faculty advancements in tissue engineering to the personal story of a freshman from New Haven for whom the University’s financial aid made attending Yale possible.

Alumni interviewed after the capstone presentation in Sprague said they were especially moved by the story of the undergraduate on financial aid, adding that the film helped to capture the opportunities that Yale can open for students from all backgrounds.

“I think there’s a great multiplier effect,” Kim Fulton ’91 said. “You make a small gift and it makes a difference in so many ways.”

One event Saturday — the weekend’s keynote speech ­— underscored the goals of Yale Tomorrow by looking at Yale yesterday.

Author and historian David McCullough ’55, whom Levin called a “storyteller of the absolute highest quality,” delivered a Saturday lunchtime address, entitled “Yale: The American Adventure.” Throughout the speech, McCullough noted significant moments in American history that involved Yale — the establishment of the nation’s first collegiate art gallery, the invention of the modern university science curriculum and various alumni contributions to the country.

“[The conclusion of Yale Tomorrow] is thrilling and intimately important to Yale — and to our country,” he said. “Make no mistake, yours is a noble achievement … of far reaching importance to Yale, our country and the world.”

Two of the campaign’s focus areas, the arts and the sciences, served as a theme that ran through McCullough’s narrative. He said the University has always worked to bridge the gap between the two fields, pointing to Samuel Morse 1810, who studied art before inventing the telegraph and, more recently, to administrators’ plans to store pieces from Yale’s galleries among the science facilities at West Campus as examples.

Yale Tomorrow launched publicly in 2006, following a two-year “silent phase” in which the University raised $1.304 billion toward the campaign goal.

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