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Harvard kicks off $6.5 billion capital campaign

Harvard announced Sept. 21 that it hopes to raise a historic $6.5 billion with its new capital campaign, the Harvard Crimson reported Saturday.

Achieving this target amount would make this capital campaign, known as the Harvard Campaign, the largest fundraising initiative ever undertaken by a higher education institution, the Crimson reported.

Campaign organizers said they have already received $2.8 billion in pledges and donations during the past two years of the campaign’s “quiet phase,” the Crimson reported.

Harvard announced it intends to spend 45 percent of the campaign’s funds on teaching and research, 25 percent on “the student experience” and financial aid, 20 percent on “capital improvements” and the remaining 10 percent on “flexible funding,” the Crimson reported.

Brown’s total endowment is currently about $2.6 billion. The Campaign for Academic Enrichment, the University’s most successful capital campaign, raised $1.6 billion.

The current record for the largest fundraising push in higher education is held by Stanford University, which raised $6.2 billion in its capital campaign that ended in December 2011, the Crimson reported.


Providence College cancels talk by gay academic

Providence College Provost Hugh Lena announced Sept. 21 that his institution rescinded an invitation to a gay philosophy professor to deliver a lecture supporting same-sex marriage, the New York Times reported Monday.

Nine departments and programs at Providence College had agreed to co-sponsor the lecture, to be delivered by John Corvino, philosophy department chair from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.

Corvino, a public advocate for same-sex marriage — who has written a book entitled “What’s Wrong with Homosexuality?” — told the Times he wanted to speak at Providence College to spread his message to a more conservative campus.

But Lena wrote in an email announcing the cancellation of Corvino’s lecture that the proposed talk contradicted the Catholic institution’s policy of presenting “both sides of a controversial issue” because Corvino would not be facing off against a same-sex marriage opponent, the Times reported. Lena also cited a 2004 document produced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that stated Catholic institutions should refrain from honoring individuals who oppose the Church’s “fundamental moral principles,” the Times reported.

The lecture’s cancellation drew criticism from Providence College Faculty Senate President Fred Drogula, the Times reported. Drogula told the Times the college’s policy does not require opposing viewpoints at every lecture and that Lena was wrong to cite the 2004 Catholic bishops’ document.


Rhodes scholarships to expand in wake of record gift

Students from Brazil, China and Russia may be able to apply for Rhodes scholarships after a $120 million donation to the program has resulted in plans to expand the scholarships’ international reach, the Globe and Mail reported Sept. 19.

The donation — the largest ever received by the Rhodes Trust, which runs the University of Oxford scholarship program — was given by Canadian businessman and former Rhodes scholar John McCall MacBain.

Rhodes scholarships are currently open only to applicants from British Commonwealth nations, Germany and the United States. But McCall MacBain told the Globe and Mail the donation will help the scholarship program expand “in the next five to 10 years” to other countries, highlighting Brazil, China and Russia as targets for expansion.


Washington and Lee to review admission data reporting

The president of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, has ordered a review of the institution’s admission data reporting process after the Washington Post reported the school had included many incomplete applications in calculating its application total, the Post reported Monday.

President Kenneth Ruscio asked for the review following a Post report that revealed Washington and Lee had included more than 1,100 incomplete applications as part of its count of 5,972 applications for the class of 2016. The inclusion of the incomplete applications artificially lowered Washington and Lee’s application rate from 24 percent to 19 percent, the Post reported.

The incident comes amid heightened concerns over U.S. universities’ manipulation of admission data to appear more selective than they actually are, the Post reported.


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