Capital campaign passes $1b mark

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Campaign for Academic Enrichment, which aims to raise $1.4 billion to fund President Ruth Simmons’ Plan for Academic Enrichment, reached its $1 billion mark on May 24. As of July 11, the fundraising drive had raised an additional $28 million.

With about 73 percent of its goal complete, the campaign will focus more time and effort on raising money in the greater New York City area, including Fairfield, Conn., and northern New Jersey. It will also expand operations in California, University officials said.

But that doesn’t mean the campaign will ignore the rest of the country, said Ronald Vanden Dorpel MA’71, senior vice president for University advancement. “Brown is a national institution.”

And the campaign will also continue spending time fundraising overseas.

The capital campaign officially kicked off in 2005 after a two-year ‘quiet phase’ that raised $575 million. It funds endowments for professors, educational programs for students, new facilities and renovations to existing residence halls.

One of the most prominent boosts to the campaign thus far was a $100 million donation in January from the late Warren Alpert to improve the Medical School, now named for Alpert. “The Medical School has been one of the highest priorities from the beginning,” said Richard Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior adviser to the president.

Future plans include constructing a new fitness center, replacing the Smith Swim Center and finishing the Walk, which will connect Lincoln Field to Pembroke campus.

The campaign is “incredibly important – the most important thing Brown will do during the Simmons presidency,” Vanden Dorpel said. “It gives us the wherewithal to institute the president’s plan.”

Spies said “the plan came first – developed a vision and then tried to figure out what resources were required – and organized the campaign around that.”

But despite planning, the campaign has had to deal with some unanticipated expenses, such as the need to replace the Smith Swim Center, which was closed last semester over concerns about the structural integrity of its roof.

The campaign adjusts to the unanticipated because it was built with flexibility, said Neil Steinberg ’75, vice president for development and campaign director.

“We just kind of go with it,” he said. “It’s not that rigid.”

And as the campaign proceeds, so do its priorities, Spies said.

“Things always evolve. The plan is evolving. New priorities and new needs emerge that you hadn’t anticipated and still have to deal with,” he said. “In some ways the campaign will have to change in order to reflect those changes … The core elements aren’t going to change, just some of the details might.”

“Some other projects might have to wait a little longer and we might have to reconfigure some of the things we’ve been thinking about,” he added.

Spies said the response to the campaign has been encouraging.

“The most exciting thing about the campaign is that people from the largest donors to the smallest have responded to that appeal to support the plan and all that can mean for Brown,” he said.

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