Pitt's Building Our Future Together Capital Campaign Exceeds $1.5 Billion

Issue Date: 
September 13, 2010

The University of Pittsburgh’s Building Our Future Together capital campaign—already the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in the history of Western Pennsylvania—has exceeded a record-breaking $1.5 billion in gifts and pledges and remains on track to hit its $2 billion goal as scheduled, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said.

The campaign, whose initial goal of $500 million was doubled to $1 billion in June 2002 and doubled yet again in June 2006 to $2 billion, continues to provide the University with growing levels of endowed scholarship, fellowship, and faculty support as well as other key investments in Pitt’s people, programs, and facilities, which are critical in these times of economic challenge.

“The impact of the extraordinary generosity of Pitt’s supporters extends well beyond the total number of actual dollars raised,” Nordenberg said. “What is more important is the enormous difference those dollars have made—in the lives of hardworking Pitt students whose achievements are a source of great hope for the future; in the work of Pitt’s outstanding faculty whose pioneering research impacts the ways in which we live and contributes to the greater good; in dramatic enhancements to the learning and working environment, through transformational facilities projects on all five of our campuses; and in the quality and impact of Pitt programs that are changing and improving individual lives on a daily basis and that also add vibrancy to our home communities.”

Pitt’s Board of Trustees has noted that the campaign has thus far “added substantially to the academic growth and stature of the University by providing support for talented and deserving students, committed and high-achieving faculty members, programs of quality and impact, and facilities that are essential to the achievement of our institutional goals.”

When the Pitt Board voted to raise the campaign goal to $2 billion, it stated that “for the past decade, the University of Pittsburgh has made unprecedented academic progress, as is reflected by such measures as the significant increase in the number of applicants seeking admission to its programs, the much stronger qualifications of enrolled students, dramatically elevated levels of research funding, and the special forms of recognition earned by its faculty, students, and alumni,” all fueled by the Board’s 1996 public commitment to secure for the University an adequate resource base by “dramatically improving efforts to attract private funding to an institution whose programs clearly are worthy of generous support.”

The Board also has stated that the campaign funds are “to be used to support the people and programs of the University of Pittsburgh in ways that further enhance its impact and add to its already proud legacy” and that it “remains firmly committed to its statement of aspiration” adopted in February 2002: “By aggressively supporting the advancement of Pitt’s academic mission, we will clearly and consistently demonstrate that this is one of the finest and most productive universities in the world.”

To date, Pitt’s campaign has enjoyed widespread support, attracting its current total of more than $1.5 billion from 158,003 donors. Of those donors, nearly 50 percent are non-alumni. Another important measure of the success of any campaign is the number of donors who have made commitments of $1 million or more, and here the total of 275 such gifts is noteworthy.

The Building Our Future Together campaign has made a lasting impact on the lives of numerous students and faculty through the creation of 1,273 new endowed funds:

• 458 new endowed scholarship funds for a total of 875, an increase of 109 percent in the number of such funds;

• 34 new endowed fellowships for a total of 92, an increase of 58 percent in the number of such funds;

• 109 new endowed faculty chairs or professorships for a total of 183, an increase of 147 percent in the number of such funds; and

• 672 new named student and faculty resource endowments used to support such activities and programs as research projects, research travel, book purchases, and student academic projects for a total of 1,012, an increase of 197 percent.

Campaign contributions also have been critical to the University’s ongoing campus improvement efforts. During the past decade, Pitt has completed 1,751 capital improvement projects with a total value of $1.14 billion. These projects have resulted in nearly 2.2 million square feet of new or renovated facilities.

“We know that a successful campaign is crucial to building an enduring foundation for long-term University support through endowments, planned giving opportunities, and other investment opportunities,” said Pitt alumnus, trustee, and campaign cochair Burt Tansky (A&S ’61). “By raising $1.5 billion and continuing on our path to our $2 billion goal, this campaign is helping to propel the University forward, giving the institution the resources it needs to solidify its role among the world’s most respected universities,” added fellow Pitt alumnus, trustee, and campaign cochair Eva Tansky Blum (A&S ’70, LAW ’73).

“The supporters of this campaign can take pride in knowing that their investments in our University will have a lasting impact on generations of students, will enhance the economic strength and add to the overall vitality of our home communities, and also will have an impact on the quality of life in more distant locations,” said Pitt Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Albert J. Novak Jr. “This milestone in our ongoing quest to build an even better Pitt was achieved mainly through the hard work and dedication of our trustees, alumni, administration, and the countless volunteers who embrace our cause,” added Clyde B. Jones III, Pitt vice chancellor for health sciences development.