By TYLER ALICEA
Cornell has surpassed its $4.75 billion fundraising goal for its “Cornell Now” campaign more than a year ahead of schedule, a feat that administrators say shows alumni support for the University’s 21st century mission.
By June 30, Cornell raised $4.79 billion dollars for the campaign — which aims to fundraise for the University’s “top strategic priorities” — since President David Skorton kicked off the campaign in 2006, according to the University.
In a statement, Skorton said he is grateful to everyone who helped the University reach “this remarkable milestone” during Cornell’s sesquicentennial year.
“I pledge to use these funds — and to seek more support — for our students, faculty, programs and facilities,” Skorton said. “Philanthropy gives us a much-needed edge as we strive for greater excellence, and it helps us withstand economic challenges to make Cornell accessible to the world’s best students.”
During the 2014 fiscal year, Cornell raised $732 million in cash gifts for the Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell Tech, exceeding the 2013 total of $627 million by more than $100 million, according to the University.
As part of that, $54 million was raised for students and student programs, with $30 million of that amount going towards undergraduate and graduate student financial aid, according to the University. For faculty and program support, the University raised $427 million.
Charles Phlegar, vice president for alumni affairs and development, said the rising levels of donations suggest that “Cornell is building a tremendously diverse and robust community of supporters.”
“Every gift we receive today, no matter the size, will help Cornell respond to its biggest priorities in the future,” he said in an email. “Current-use gifts are used each year by our deans to fund critical immediate needs, and gifts to the endowment grow over time and provide a durable foundation.”
Phlegar added that these donations are “critical” in maintaining Ezra Cornell’s vision of “any person … any study” in the 21st century.
“This huge showing of support allows Cornell to invest as much as possible in areas of critical importance,” he said. “Our biggest campaign priorities continue to be increasing the level of undergraduate and graduate student financial aid we can offer, and building the next generation of top faculty who will shape the university’s performance well into the next century.”
According to the University, the Cornell Annual Fund raised $36.7 million in cash during the fiscal year 2014, which has exceeded its goal for the 12th year straight.
Joe Lyons ’98, director of the Cornell Annual Fund, said the funds will help a variety of University initiatives, including increasing financial aid and faculty renewal.
“Annual fund dollars help support every key priority at Cornell in some shape or another. They support our students, our faculty and allow our university leaders to make the most strategic investments by giving them ability to use the money where most needed,” he said.
More than 55,000 individuals donated to Cornell in 2014, which according to a University press release, is more than any previous year.
Lyons added that he thinks the campaign will continue to bring in money for the University until its completion in December 2015.
“I have great optimism that we will be able to keep the momentum going this year and beyond because our alumni, parents and friends are all in when it comes to ensuring Cornell has the resources needed to keep it the exceptional place that it has been the past 150 years for the next 150 years,” Lyons said.