Harvard Raises Record $9.6 Billion in Campaign

(Bloomberg) -- Harvard University raised a record $9.6 billion as the world’s richest school completed a campaign that became the signature accomplishment of Drew Faust, the president who stepped down this year.

The haul eclipsed a goal of $6.5 billion Harvard set when it kicked off the campaign five years ago. The total set a new high water mark in higher education, which has seen fundraising increase with the proliferation of mega-donations. The gifts to Harvard included $400 million from hedge fund manager John Paulson and $350 million from real estate developer Gerald Chan and his family.

U.S. colleges led by Harvard and Stanford University reaped a record $43.6 billion in charitable contributions in fiscal 2017, according to the Council for Aid to Education, which tracks university giving. Less than 1 percent of all colleges accounted for almost 30 percent of the total raised in the year through June 30, 2017, the latest figures available.

“This campaign has helped shape and secure Harvard’s future,” Faust said in a statement today. She was replaced by former Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow in July.

The university’s fundraising prowess took on greater importance in light of the struggles of its endowment, which after years of leading peers has produced subpar investment returns for a decade. Even as Harvard trounced most rivals collecting donations, many schools have closed the gap in terms of wealth because their endowments have performed better.

Harvard has the largest endowment in higher education at $37.1 billion.

Of the $9.6 billion, $1.3 billion will support financial aid, the university said. Harvard received donations from more than 153,000 households from 173 countries, contributing more than 633,000 gifts, it said. Donors funded 142 endowed professorships through the campaign.

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