Courtesy of Cornell University

Donors gave a grand total of $512 million to Cornell in the 2018 Fiscal Year — $436 million of which will be used at the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses.

August 30, 2018

Donors Give $512 Million to the University During Fiscal Year 2018

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Cornell received $512 million in gifts and commitments in Fiscal Year 2018, about $230 million less than the amount given in the previous fiscal year.

Cornell received $743 million in Fiscal Year 2017. Fred Van Sickle, vice president of alumni affairs and development, said yearly fluctuations are “not unusual” because of “exceptional gifts.”

H. Fisk Johnson ’79, M. Eng ’80, M.S. ’82, MBA ’84, Ph.D. ’86 gave $150 million to Cornell in the 2017 fiscal year to endow the SC Johnson College of Business.

Of this fiscal year’s donations, $436 million support the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses and $77 million support Weill Cornell Medicine.

Van Sickle said the funds going towards the Ithaca campus “will touch practically every single part of campus in one way another.”

“The gifts are used to support the purpose or area designated by the donors, including scholarships, fellowships, professorships, student life, academic programs, research and facilities,” he said.

A scholarship challenge campaign that began in January of last year yielded almost $22 million in endowed scholarships. 

The donations to Weill Cornell will be used to grow its clinical, research and education programs, Van Sickle said.

Tata Consultancy Services gave Cornell Tech $50 million in the 2018 fiscal year, which paid for the first phase of capital development at Cornell Tech, The Sun previously reported. The information technology consulting company is headquartered in Mumbai, India and its chairman emeritus is Ratan Tata ’62.

Cornell named a building the Tata Innovation Center in response to the gift, Van Sickle said.

“[The investment] also will support research collaborations between [Tata Consultancy Services] and Cornell Tech and enable mutual efforts to expand K-12 digital literacy programs in New York City, with a focus on girls, minorities and the underserved,” he said.

In total, 79,000 donors gave money to Cornell during the course of the year, which is a record, Cornell announced in its in-house publication, the Cornell Chronicle.

In an email to The Sun, Michelle Vaeth ’98, associate vice president of alumni affairs, called the Giving Day on March 20 — the University’s one-day fundraising frenzy — “remarkable,” and said that 11,748 donors participated.

Vaeth said Cornell witnessed an increase in gifts from student donors, and on Giving Day in particular.

Vaeth said alumni donate to the university to “give back” to the campus that “gave them so much.”

“Others are grateful for the ways donors of the past made their experience possible,” she said. “Still others want to invest in the work Cornell is doing to impact societal problems — such as sustainability, food and water quality, energy, human health, and countless others.”