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Capital Campaign launch next week, priorities defined

On the last weekend of October, Georgetown’s Office of Advancement will launch the public phase of its latest capital campaign, the final push for a $1.5 billion fundraising initiative begun in July 2007.

By the end of this June, the University had raised $737 million through the “quiet phase” of the campaign, almost half of its goal. Administrators hope to increase interest in the campaign by announcing the projects the office is planning on sponsoring on the launch weekend.

Vice President for Advancement R. Bartley Moore described the allocation of the different priorities for the capital campaign as a lengthy planning process.

“[It] involves deans and other academic leaders, vice presidents, and sector directors,” Moore said. “Completely unsurprisingly, when all the different units and schools added up their objectives, it totaled about $3 billion, so we did what every institution does and we prioritized.”

The process of deciding the priorities for the funds began in 2005.

“Then something significant happened,” Moore said. “When the economic downturn began in 2008 and hit in earnest in 2009, it became very clear to us that the first priority of the campaign was going to have to be financial aid. … No one questioned that financial aid and scholarship support for students should be the highest priority.”

$500 million, or one third of the funds, is projected to go to student scholarships and financial aid through the 1789 Scholarship Imperative. The bulk of the money—$400 million—will go to aid for undergraduate students, while $100 million will go to graduate students. According to Moore, the 1789 Imperative was the first publicly identified goal of the campaign, and has been a primary objective for the effort for the last two years.

Another $500 million would go toward faculty development and resources for faculty. Roughly half of that would work to endow faculty positions through professorships and chairs, and the other half would go towards funding research, staff, and new equipment.

Moore said that both undergraduate students and graduate students will see a tangible impact from these initiatives.

“Some of the fundraising objectives … will have the effect of creating new faculty positions,” Moore said. “Success of endowing a new chair would result in bringing to Georgetown a new additional faculty member who would be recruited as a leader in his or her field.”

Moore said that endowing existing faculty positions would have a positive impact on students as well. An endowed chair that pays for the faculty member’s salary and research means budget relief.

The project “could create a budget that funds stipends and allows a faculty member to hire a student to work in her or her lab,” Moore said.

Student life and campus experience have a $200 million goal that includes infrastructure funding for the Intercollegiate Athletic Center, the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, the Dahlgren Chapel renovation, and the New South Student Center. Other goals include modernizing classrooms, building the W. Proctor Harvey medical teaching amphitheater, and updating Lauinger Library.

The final $300 million would go towards a category called “transformative opportunities.”

“A transformative opportunity is something that, when explaining the institutional trajectory of Georgetown, we can say ‘That was an important moment,’” Moore said.
While the Office of Advancement will publicly announce the projects that would be included in this category during the Capital Campaign launch weekend, Moore said an example of a transformative opportunity was when Rev. Edmund Walsh started the School of Foreign Service in 1919. Some areas the University is looking at are public policy, environmental studies, research in neurologic diseases, personalized cancer treatment, and transactional law.

Forty-one percent of the money raised in the campaign so far will be going to the endowment. In the past, around a third of campaign funds have gone to the endowment, but the Office of Advancement is looking to invest a higher percentage of the funds into the endowment.

Advancement is also looking to diversify fundraising sources for the campaign.

“Like almost all universities, alumni are by far the most important donor segment, and we expect that will always be the case,” Moore said. “We have, however, increased the intensity of and our investment in fundraising from other sources, including corporations and foundations, so that we are leaving no opportunity unexplored.”

A certain number of tickets for each fundraising event in the campaign will be reserved for current students, including the gala that will take place on Saturday night of the launch weekend.

“I am hoping students take interest in it and understand and appreciate its role in the community,” Moore said.