Princeton kicks off a $1.75 billion campaign

The University formally launched the largest fundraising campaign in its history — $1.75 billion over the next five years — with three days of events last month for alumni leaders, volunteers, and donors.

The campaign’s theme is Aspire: A Plan for Princeton. “Princeton always aspires to be better than it is,” President Tilghman said. “Through this campaign, we’re encouraging all Princetonians to help shape the future of the University by providing the resources necessary to meet its highest priorities.” About a third of the total will support construction projects, Tilghman said.

According to campaign co-chairs Robert S. Murley ’72 and Nancy B. Peretsman ’76, about $611 million has been raised during the past two years in the so-called quiet phase of the campaign. “There is not an ounce of doubt in my mind that we are going to be extremely successful,” Murley said. “We have a history of overachieving at Princeton.”

To officially kick off the campaign Nov. 9, Jadwin Gym was transformed into an elegant dining hall for about 700 guests, with student a cappella and dance groups performing before the meal.

Tilghman thanked her predecessors, alumni volunteers, and donors, noting the naming of the Lewis Center for the Arts for Peter B. Lewis ’55 earlier that day. Though his $101 million gift to support the arts was Princeton’s largest, Lewis would be pleased if someone in the room could do better, Tilghman said. Her quip was met by many laughs, but no immediate takers.

The Aspire campaign is Princeton’s fourth formal fundraising campaign. Here’s a look at the previous three:

•The $53 million Princeton University Campaign, launched by President Robert F. Goheen ’40 *48 in 1959, raised more than $60 million. That included a $35 million gift from Marie Robertson, wife of Charles Robertson ’26, to create the Robertson Foundation in support of the graduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School.

• A Campaign for Princeton, initiated in 1982 under President William G. Bowen *58, had a goal of $275 million. The goal was increased to $330 million in 1984, and $410.5 million was raised by the campaign’s close in 1986.

• The Anniversary Campaign for Princeton, launched in 1995 by President Harold T. Shapiro *64 with a goal of $750 million, raised more than $1.14 billion at its conclusion in 2000. More than 78 percent of all undergraduate alumni contributed.

Aspire: Highlights of the campaign

Annual Giving: $250 million

• Includes five years of Annual Giving, so that each class will have a major reunion during the campaign.

• Unrestricted funds flow directly to the University’s operating budget.

Engineering, energy, and the environment: $325 million

• Construction of a 40,000-square-foot building for Operations Research and Financial Engineering, and a new 110,000-square-foot research laboratory building.

• About 20 new faculty members, with emphasis on the areas of alternative energy, information-technology policy, health-related research, and environmental remediation. The goal: “Princeton will become the leading institution in the world for solving the complex global problems caused by burning fossil fuels.”

• Courses that offer non-engineers a better understanding of technology, and that offer engineers a broader focus for engineering projects.

Exploration in the arts: $325 million

• Construction of the “arts neighborhood,” a cluster of facilities south of McCarter Theatre, to house new and expanded programs in music performance, visual arts, creative writing, theater, and dance.

• Additional collection and exhibition space for the University Art Museum.

• New faculty, distinguished visiting critics and artists, and an interdisciplinary Society of Fellows in the Arts for innovative, early-career artists.

• Support for the Princeton Atelier, which brings guest artists to campus for collaborative efforts with faculty and students.

Neuroscience, genomics, and theoretical physics: $300 million

• New buildings, to be located south of Icahn Laboratory, that will house the psychology department and the Institute for Neuroscience, connected by shared space.

• Adding about nine professors to the core neuroscience faculty.

• Expanding the faculty associated with the genomics institute, and creating a postdoctoral fellows program in theoretical physics.

National and global citizenship: $300 million

• Funds for language studies and to expand study-abroad programs.

• International collaborations, including the Global Scholars program that will bring scholars to campus from other countries.

• Support for programs in international and regional studies.

• Expansion of faculty and programs in the Center for African American Studies.

The Princeton experience: $250 million

• Constructing a new four-year college on the site of the demolished Butler College buildings, a dorm for independent juniors and seniors, and a college master’s residence.

• Support for a broad array of student organizations, health services, varsity athletics (including endowed coaching positions), and club sports.

• Funds for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships.

• Endowed professorships and preceptorships, and funds for freshman seminars and junior and senior independent work.