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John Harvard's Journal

Generous Givers

November-December 2005

Donations to the University totaled $590 million in the fiscal year ended June 30 — the second highest sum in Harvard’s history, according to Donella M. Rapier, vice president for alumni affairs and development. The previous peak, $658 million in 2001, came at the end of the $2.6-billion University Campaign. (Unlike the higher figures published in Harvard’s annual financial report, the development-office figures discount capital gifts for life income funds to their present value.)

Rapier cited the strength of Harvard Business School’s capital campaign, which accounted for more than one-fifth of the gifts recorded. Harvard Law School’s campaign continues on track, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) had steady results. “The sciences have engendered a lot of interest,” she said, with $30 million raised for the stem-cell institute and 10 professorships funded in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which held a “chair challenge.” Donor interest in financial aid focused on the initiative for low-income undergraduates and public-service-oriented graduate schools (such as education, government, and public health).

The timing of a broad capital campaign has evidently been pushed back. Rapier cited incomplete academic planning in FAS, which is reworking the College curriculum; in “very complex” crosscutting science initiatives; and in the graduate schools with new deans (design, government) or interim leadership (education). As for putting a price tag on existing programs and new ambitions in Allston, she said, “The hardest part is the final decisions on what’s in and what’s not.”