Syracuse University announced this month that it has reached the $1 billion mark in its fundraising campaign, which was launched in 2005. University administrators had not expected that goal to be met until December 31 of this year. With the recession dogging the economy for the last four years, other universities have not been so successful in their fundraising efforts.
According to Tom Walsh, SU’s executive vice president for advancement and external affairs, the university made strategic decisions that led to the success of its fundraising plan. Those strategies included shrinking the administration of the university and continuing to hire faculty.
“As most universities across the country went into a period of time where they shut down faculty hiring, and some very prestigious schools did that, we were out hiring,” Walsh said. “That sent a message that we weren't going to be stopped.”
Walsh also attributed Syracuse’s fundraising success to the contributions of wealthy donors. While nearly 200 people gave one million dollars or more, thirty contributed more than five million dollars. The university’s board of trustees made up a large share of the donations.
Walsh said Syracuse’s strong alumni network was critical to the campaign’s success. “I don't think there's an institution in the country whose alumni have greater affinity for it than the alumni have for Syracuse,” he said.
The university has already designated some of the money to be used toward student scholarships and new campus facilities, such as the new college of law building, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.