After two record-breaking years of fund raising, Yale Vice President of Development Charles Pagnam did not feel optimistic this semester.
“Keeping that pace, we knew, would be difficult,” Pagnam said.
And while Pagnam might have anticipated the potential effects of a recession, he certainly did not predict the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the havoc they would wreak on the economy.
But despite the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the pending end of the tercentennial fund-raising initiative, Yale fund raising has not been affected, Pagnam said. Still, he said, he does not expect the Development Office to have another record-breaking year.
The total amount of both donors and contributions has increased from this time last year. Pagnam said part of the increase is due to several fund-raising initiatives that started earlier than usual. He added that class chairmen were making direct appeals to their class.
Yale President Richard Levin said he is pleased with the fund-raising totals from this fall.
“I think that we are having a strong finish to the current year,” Levin said. “I don’t want to predict what will happen after the first of January, but we have certainly have done well this fall.”
Tercentennial donors who give more than $300,000 before Dec. 31 in conjunction with the University’s Fourth Century Initiative will have their names engraved on the low stone wall parallel to Wall Street in Beinecke Plaza. The names will be visible as students walk from the Woolsey Rotunda.
But Pagnam said it was hard to judge if the engravings influenced donors.
“It is important to acknowledge those who help ensure Yale maintains its place as a world leader,” Pagnam said. “Alumni don’t give out of a sense of loyalty; alumni now give because they believe in the important role the institution plays.”
Levin said the Fourth Century Initiative did give donors special reason.
“I think just the idea of a campaign that one is part of it and recognition for participation is a positive incentive,” Levin said.
Pagnam said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have shown alumni the increased importance of donating to Yale.
“People realize that institutions like Yale that have been around a long period of time are really great resources,” Pagnam said. “They realize that it is important to continue to ensure that institutions like Yale are able to offer the current level of educational experience.”
But even after the end of the tercentennial push, Pagnam said the University still will have the same needs.
“A lot of the things that we are trying to raise money for will still be there on Jan. 1,” Pagnam said. “Just like it was after the last capital campaign, we will continue to raise money for priorities set by the president, provost and Corporation.”
But even Levin, an economist, said it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of the recession.
“It is hard to predict how severe of an effect it will be,” Levin said.