Sam Maller | Staff photographerNews
Syracuse University’s billion-dollar campaign reaches goal three months early
It was a day of celebration for university officials, students and faculty alike.
The Campaign for Syracuse University, which aims to raise $1 billion by the end of 2012, surpassed its goal by more than $8 million three months ahead of its scheduled end date.
“I think it’s just such a statement about how much people love Syracuse University, and what it has meant to them,” said Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Syracuse University officials held a celebratory event Thursday at 4 p.m. on the Quad to announce the billion-dollar campaign brought in $1,008,612,731 as of Aug. 31, creating numerous opportunities for both students and faculty. It is the university’s largest fundraising campaign to date.
The announcement had been referred to as the “What is it?” campaign, building suspense across campus during the days leading up to the announcement.
Cantor and the Board of Trustees developed the Campaign for Syracuse University in 2005 and launched it in 2007. In correlation with Cantor’s Scholarship in Action vision, the purpose of the campaign is to raise funds in order to improve access to education for students of all financial backgrounds and to improve the quality of the faculty and the university as a whole.
Since its inception, money donated to the university has helped create 99 endowed faculty positions, 350 student scholarships and new campus facilities such as Newhouse III and Dineen Hall.
Although the campaign has already met its goal of $1 billion, Cantor said the university will continue to fundraise until the end of December.
“What we want to do is make sure that some of these buckets, if you will, are filled. So, we want to get that 100th endowed chair, we want to make sure that we get as many students scholarships as possible,” Cantor said.
When other universities were either delaying campaigns or stalling or extending their deadlines, we actually propelled through the recession in stronger form. I think that’s a testament to our vision and mission of the institution.
Brian Sischo, Campaign for Syracuse University director
To do that, university officials have been reaching out to alumni, students, faculty, staff and the greater Syracuse community and encouraging people to donate toward programs or initiatives they want to see at SU.
“One of the most important things is that we had a whole set of volunteers, everything from people, like me, who work for the university, but also our trustees, and alumni all around the country,” Cantor said. “And then we merged that with faculty and students who would say, ‘Here’s a program I really want.’”
Some of those programs include the establishment of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, the LGBT Resource Center and the Phanstiel Scholars Program. Donations will also be used for renovations to the Newhouse II studios, the construction of Dineen Hall and the renovation of Carnegie Library.
SU is not the first university to have a billion-dollar campaign. There are six other colleges or universities that are currently working to raise at least $1 billion by the end of this year including Boston College, Princeton University and the University of Florida, according to a Feb. 4, 2010 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The State University of New York and the University of Pennsylvania are trying to raise more than $3 billion by the end of 2012, according to the article.
Brian Sischo, vice president for development and director of the SU campaign, has been monitoring its progress for more than seven years. He said although he was not surprised the university met its $1 billion goal, he was surprised that it was able to sustain the campaign during the economic recession.
“When other universities were either delaying campaigns or stalling or extending their deadlines, we actually propelled through the recession in stronger form,” Sischo said. “I think that’s a testament to our vision and mission of the institution.”
It’s likely the university will launch another campaign in the future, Sischo said, but it would not be for a number of years.
For now, university officials are relishing the success of seven years’ work – three months early.
Said Sischo: “The ability to reach the goal, and to do it ahead of time, only means that there’s more money available to students than there would be otherwise.”
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