Top Ten Stories of 2012: No. 10

Duke undertakes campaign to raise $3.25 billion
Dec. 21, 2012 @ 10:53 PM

Duke University officials had been working quietly on it for months, but they only went public at the end of September — when they already had millions in the bank.

That’s when they announced the official launch of the biggest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, an attempt to raise $3.25 billion over the next five years.
The campaign is one of the biggest ever undertaken by a university, exceeded currently only by efforts at the University of Southern California and at Columbia University.

Unlike previous campaigns, which targeted the money raised for specific goals, the fundraising in “Duke Forward: Partnering for the Future” will go to a variety of university programs and benefit each of the campus’ 10 schools.

Particularly benefiting will be the athletics program, with $250 million of the money raised going for a major upgrade of Wallace Wade football stadium, a new track-only stadium and additional amenities for Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The campaign “marks a transformational moment in the history of this great institution,” said Athletics Director Kevin White.

Work on the earliest upgrades to the athletics complex could begin as soon as next spring. That initial phase of the project would see two new athletic practice fields relocated from the land next to Koskinen Stadium to a parcel of land on the other side of Bassett Drive.

In addition to athletics, the funds raised in the campaign will be used in three broad areas. Duke officials described them as “enriching the Duke experience,” “activating Duke’s power for the world,” and “sustaining Duke’s momentum.”

By focusing on those areas, said Duke President Richard Brodhead, “we can give Duke’s talented students, faculty and medical practitioners opportunities to advance ideas, make new connections and move the world forward.”

Within those broad sectors, Duke hopes to use the money to strengthen curricular and co-curricular programs, expand research opportunities for students, extend Duke’s capacity to address global health challenges, broaden its commitment to environmental education, foster interdisciplinary research, enlarge Duke’s role in Durham and the region, create new endowed faculty chairs and increase need-based financial aid.

The key aspect to all the new initiatives, Brodhead explained, was that they all will help foster teamwork across the campus.

“This will enable every aspect of the university to collaborate,” he said.

During its silent phase, the campaign already had taken in several million dollars, including an $80 million gift from the Duke Endowment, which will be used to renovate the campus’ student union and other landmark buildings, and a $50 million gift for financial aid from Board of Trustees member Bruce Karsh, one of the co-chairs of Duke Forward.