Harvard’s Faust Sets Principles for Major Fundraising Campaign

Generating “new knowledge” will be a driving principle in Harvard University’s fundraising drive that will formally start in September, President Drew Faust said.

The Harvard Campaign, as it will be called, will also focus on enabling the school to attract top students and faculty, incorporate digital tools into education, build its campus and extend its “global reach,” Faust said in a May 16 letter to faculty and staff obtained today by Bloomberg News.

University capital campaigns raise funds for buildings and other major projects, and Harvard has announced plans to replace its basketball arena, refurbish student living quarters, and resume construction of a science center that was halted after the financial crisis that began in 2008. While the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school hasn’t announced a target figure, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper has reported that it will be at least $6 billion, citing senior administrators.

“We have been engaged within each school and across the university as we have considered both what we wish to accomplish in specific fields and what we can imagine and achieve when we harness the broader power of one Harvard,” Faust said in the letter.

University campaigns often extend for several years and begin with the news that they’ve already raised a significant portion of their target.

Harvard has reported several recent gifts, including $125 million for the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering from billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss; $50 million to develop treatments from scientific discoveries from the Blavatnik Family Foundation; $30 million for student housing renewal from the Hutchins Family Foundation; and $40 million for scholarships and an executive education building at Harvard Business School from the James S.C. Chao and Family Foundation.

“Harvard is dedicated to the generation of new knowledge, which will increasingly be discovered at the intersection of disciplines,” Faust said. “As a university, we will advance discovery and learning across schools and disciplines, across the natural and social sciences and humanities, in order to capture the potential of integrated knowledge.”

Other campaign goals listed in Faust’s letter were exploration of civilizations and values and offering more opportunities for “hands-on” discovery in engineering and the arts.

“These principles, and the specific goals they lead us to pursue, will propel Harvard towards its fifth century of intellectual distinction, enabling us to solve pressing problems, to educate leaders, and to generate ideas that meet the complexities of our times,” she said in the letter.

Harvard’s last capital campaign concluded in 1999 after raising $2.6 billion. The Harvard Crimson reported yesterday on the letter.