The University had received 91,000 gifts through May 31 of the fiscal year, according to University Treasurer James F. Rothenberg ’68, M.B.A. ’70, who gave an accounting of class gifts at the HAA’s annual meeting on the afternoon of Commencement day.
Rothenberg noted key areas in which donations have helped make a difference in recent years: financial aid, faculty support, international studies, and science and engineering. For example, Harvard has reduced the median four-year debt for graduating seniors from more than $16,000 to just under $7,000, and completely eliminated the parental tuition contribution for families that earn less than $60,000 a year. As a result, he added, “The class of 2011 is the most economically diverse in our history.” Furthermore, he said, six alumni last year established a $50-million professorship challenge that has already benefited the University in 20 fields, ranging from ethics and engineering to nutrition and neurobiology.
In class gifts, the seniors achieved a 67 percent participation rate: the third-highest in senior-gift history. The class of 1957 collectively raised just over $27 million, with a 70 percent participation rate. This includes a Radcliffe fiftieth-reunion record for a gift to the Schlesinger Library that totalled more than $546,000. The class of 1982 donated $24 million, and the class of 1972 contributed more than $6 million. “The College is often called the heart of this great University. And that heart is stronger today because—thanks to you—the whole system is working well,” Rothenberg concluded.