USC Passes Halfway Mark in $6 Billion Fundraising Drive

The University of Southern California, the state’s largest private college, has raised $3.7 billion, putting it on pace to meet a $6 billion capital campaign goal by the end of 2018.

The university, which plans to break ground today on a $650 million campus expansion, has received four gifts of more than $100 million, including a $220 million anonymous donation, according to President C. L. “Max” Nikias. The $6 billion campaign was the largest-ever when unveiled in 2011, until it was surpassed by Harvard University’s $6.5 billion drive.

“One of the reasons for our success is the broad array of disciplines at the university,” Nikias said in an interview. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Donations to U.S. colleges and universities rose 9 percent to a record $33.8 billion in the year ended June 2013 as stock market gains spurred philanthropy, according to a report from the Council for Aid to Education in February. A mid-year report on major gifts by the consultant Marts & Lundy found 22 donations of $50 million or greater through June, compared with 34 in all of last year.

Harvard has raised $3.8 billion for its campaign unveiled in September, Christine Heenan, a spokeswoman for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university, said last week.

Student Village

A centerpiece of the USC campaign is a 15-acre student village adjacent to the existing campus that will include 1.25 million square feet of residential and retail space. The biggest single development project in USC history, the village is expected to cost $650 million and expand the number of beds on campus to 6,200 from 3,500.

One of the residence halls will be named in honor of Thomas and Dorothy Leavey, whose foundation donated $30 million, according to the university.

USC was founded in 1880 and has about 40,000 students, including the largest number of foreign students in the U.S., according to the Institute of International Education. The university has a $4.5 billion endowment, up about $640 million in a year as a result of donations and an investment gain of about 19 percent, Nikias said.

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