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U. plans for fund-raising kickoff

With launch of campaign a month away, administrators collecting 'Stories of Brown'

Details are beginning to emerge about the University's plans for the Oct. 22 public kickoff of the $1.3 billion, five-year Campaign for Academic Enrichment, now in the second year of its "quiet," or private, phase. The kickoff, which will include public and private events around the country, will be marked on campus with a convocation featuring a segment called "Stories of Brown."

In a Sept. 14 e-mail, the Office of Development asked members of the community to nominate faculty, alums, students, staff and parents with exceptional "lives, contributions and accomplishments." Administrators say they hope "Stories" will showcase "the very best of Brown."

According to Vice President of Development and Campaign Director Neil Steinberg '75, the development office has already received some nominations. Once the nominations are in, they will be compiled and presented to a committee of students, faculty and administrators that will make final recommendations to President Ruth Simmons. Steinberg hopes to complete the process this week.

The development office will wait until it knows which stories are being used before deciding on a format for the program.

A venue for the convocation remains undetermined, although Sayles Hall, the Salomon Center and the Main Green are under consideration, Steinberg said.

The convocation is designed to generate excitement in the entire Brown community, even among undergraduates who are less likely to be providing financial support to the campaign. A colloquium with faculty is also planned. The public launch of the fund-raising effort will coincide with the fall meeting of the Brown Corporation, as well as an alumni leadership conference.

"We wanted to do a convocation that would get the University all together. We discussed what we wanted to highlight and we considered having a name speaker, and then in talking with President Simmons, basically arrived at Brown stories, highlighting Brown - not getting an outside speaker that wasn't necessarily part of the Brown family or that was sort of being used to get a big name for an event," Steinberg said.

The Campaign for Academic Enrichment, as the fund-raising effort is called, has been in a so-called "quiet phase" since the Corporation approved the drive in its October 2003 meeting. In the quiet phase, University leaders discreetly solicited donations from various supporters, which led to such gifts as the three donations totaling $20 million for a new athletic center, $5 million for a 24-hour study center, and $120 million from liquor magnate Sidney Frank '42 for financial aid and a new academic building.

Ronald Vanden Dorpel GS '71, senior vice president for University advancement, told The Herald in December that more than $400 million has been raised in the quiet phase. In the past, officials have reported $1.3 billion to be a "working goal" for the full campaign. A specific target will be announced at the public kickoff.

While most of the funds raised will go toward strengthening the endowment, currently valued at approximately $1.9 billion, money will also be allocated to building and renovating facilities and supporting various University programs.

"The campaign is about Brown. It's of Brown. It's for Brown. It's to support the Plan for Academic Enrichment. The heart of Brown University is its faculty, the alumni, the students certainly, staff, everybody who is part of the Brown family, and that's how we got to this idea. The best case for the campaign will be among these Stories of Brown," Steinberg said.




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