Stanford Collects $1.6 Billion in Donations, Surpassing Harvard

  • Rich universities have attracted mega gifts from billionaires
  • Stanford gifts include art collection valued at $626 million

Stanford University collected $1.6 billion in donations in the fiscal year through August, including $626 million in art and special collections, the school said in an annual report released Thursday.

Stanford surpassed Harvard University, which said in October it collected $1 billion in the fiscal year through June. Harvard, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had also previously held the record for the most donations in a single year, when it collected $1.2 billion in fiscal 2014, according to the Council for Aid to Education. The group is still collecting data for fiscal 2015 donations.

The world’s richest universities have been fueling a record level of fundraising in higher education, attracting mega gifts from billionaire financiers such as Stephen Schwarzman and John Paulson. Harvard and Stanford often vie for the top spot as the biggest college fundraiser each year, said Ann Kaplan, the survey director at the New York-based Council.

Stanford, which is based in Stanford, California, said in the report that its net assets increased 5 percent to $35.5 billion.

The university’s results “benefited from solid investment performance, strong health care services revenues, and continued generous donor and community support,” Randy Livingston, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Stanford’s $1.6 billion of gifts includes the value of the Anderson Collection, which was donated in 2011 and received in the most recent fiscal year, according to Lisa Lapin, a university spokeswoman. The collection of postwar art from a wealthy Bay Area family includes 121 works by 86 artists and is housed on campus at a gallery that opened in September 2014.

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