UChicago raises fundraising campaign goal by $500 million to a record $5 billion

Harper Library and Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Photo by
Robert Kozloff
Jeremy Manier
Assistant Vice President of CommunicationsUniversity Communications

Strengthening a campaign that has rapidly surpassed records for fundraising and alumni engagement, the University of Chicago is expanding the fundraising goal of The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact to $5 billion.

“Every academic year, the University of Chicago is the preferred destination of the world’s best scholars and students,” said Joseph Neubauer, chair of the Board of Trustees. “This expansion capitalizes on our campaign momentum, which has enjoyed strong support from our board, alumni, parents and other friends of the University, to all of whom I express my deep gratitude. By raising the goal, we’re recognizing the success of the campaign to date, and affirming the University’s determination to broaden access for all students and support critical areas of inquiry.”

The public phase of the campaign launched in 2014 with an original goal of raising $4.5 billion to support pioneering scholarship by faculty and researchers, educational opportunities for students at all levels, and the University’s commitment to impact locally and globally. The campaign goal is being expanded to strengthen new and continuing priorities, including financial support for undergraduate and graduate students and research in a wide range of fields.

Neubauer, MBA’65, served as chair of the campaign before being elected chair of the board in 2015. He and his wife, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, are nationally known for their philanthropy and have been exceptionally generous supporters of the University.

When the $4.5 billion campaign launched in 2014, the University also announced a public goal to engage 125,000 of the University’s approximately 180,000 total alumni. As of March 1, 2017, the campaign has raised more than $3.61 billion and engaged more than 100,000 alumni—both records for a University campaign.

“Our academic community focuses on the highest standards of originality and impact, in the work of the faculty and in developing students who are able to make a positive impact in their chosen fields,” President Robert J. Zimmer said. “This campaign is a commitment to the future of what they will accomplish, and it continues to demonstrate the enthusiastic support of the University of Chicago community for an ambitious approach to intellectual exploration with broad impact.”

The $500 million increase in the campaign goal, approved unanimously at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, will help advance campaign priorities across the University, such as the expansion of the Odyssey Scholarship Program, which offers comprehensive support and career development opportunities for undergraduate students with the greatest economic need. The campaign will continue to support imaginative programming across the University, and financial support for undergraduate and graduate students.

The campaign already has affected virtually every part of the University. In 2015 the University announced the creation of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum at the Harris School of Public Policy, supported by a $100 million gift from The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation. The campaign has greatly expanded financial support for students through a $100 million expansion of the Odyssey Scholarship Program launched with a $50 million gift and challenge from Harriet Heyman, AM’72, and her husband, Sir Michael Moritz; and a $13 million gift from the Neubauer Family Foundation to support both International Odyssey Scholarships, which provide aid for talented international students, and scholarships for highly qualified students in Hispanic and Latino communities. A $35 million gift from College alumni Joe Mansueto, AB’78, MBA’80, and Rika Mansueto, AB’91, supported the establishment of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. A gift of $42 million from the Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation supported the creation of the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago Medicine, focusing on ways to improve the doctor-patient interaction. University Trustee David Rubenstein, JD’73, has given a total of $33 million for the Law School’s Rubenstein Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships for outstanding Law School students. The Neubauers gave $26.5 million to establish the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, which explores integrative research in humanities and humanistic social sciences, creating novel approaches to solving complex human problems.

The campaign has included a $50 million commitment to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation by University Trustee Michael Polsky, MBA’87, the founder and CEO of Invenergy; and a $30 million grant from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to support the construction of the University’s new center in Hong Kong, which will house Chicago Booth’s Executive MBA Program Asia and is slated to open next year. Construction also is underway on the future home of the Harris School of Public Policy, to be named the Keller Center in recognition of the generosity of University Trustee Dennis J. Keller, MBA’68, who committed $20 million to Harris.

The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact is the University’s fifth major fundraising campaign, beginning with its founding campaign in 1886–1890, and most recently the Chicago Initiative, which ran from 2000–2008. The Chicago Initiative surpassed its $2 billion goal, eventually raising $2.38 billion.