Duke University has reached its fundraising goal nearly a year early, hitting the $3.25 billion mark this week.
University officials, saying there’s more work to do, emphasized that the “Duke Forward” campaign will continue until the middle of 2017, about the same time that Duke President Richard Brodhead retires.
“We are thrilled to have achieved this important milestone, and we are grateful to our generous Duke alumni, volunteers, parents, and friends,” Melissa Antaya, director of marketing for Duke’s development office, said in an email. “The campaign has made substantial progress in investing in Duke’s future, and as we look forward, we will not slow our momentum.”
In the coming months, Antaya said, the university will focus on key priorities, such as financial aid, faculty support and enriching the student experience.
Duke’s fundraising success comes at a time when U.S. universities are seeing robust giving as the stock market climbs to new records. A report this year by the Council for Aid to Education showed that charitable contributions to colleges increased 7.6 percent in 2015, reaching more than $40 billion overall.
Duke ranked 12th among U.S. universities, bringing in $472 million. Stanford was first, with $1.65 billion in total gifts in 2015, and Harvard ranked second with just over $1 billion.
During the past several years, donations have fueled a building bonanza at Duke. Construction cranes still dot the campus, even after the reopening of Duke Chapel and Page Auditorium following extensive renovations. Projects underway include a new arts building, a residence hall and a large parking garage on Cameron Boulevard near Science Drive. Cameron Indoor Stadium, the home of the Blue Devils basketball program, is also being expanded.
Brodhead said during last year’s student welcome that the construction boom is the biggest since the original campus was built at the start of the Great Depression.
The seven-year fundraising campaign is about more than buildings, though. Earlier this year, Duke announced that it had received $23 million in donations to set up a challenge fund to help raise money for undergraduate financial aid. Nearly half of Duke undergraduates receive need-based aid.
As prices have risen, Duke’s financial aid budget has more than doubled to $99 million between 2005 and 2015.