The Graduate School received a $7.5 million donation from the Charlotte-based Duke Endowment Tuesday.

The gift will sponsor fellowships meant to provide increased and year-round support for Ph.D candidates, according to a Duke News release.

Of the donation, $5 million will be put towards establishing The Duke Endowment Graduate Fellowship Endowment to support doctoral candidates, especially those working in traditionally underfunded fields including the humanities and social sciences. The remaining $2.5 million will be put towards a challenge fund to promote contributions to the endowment from others.

In the press release, Paula D. McClain, dean of The Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education, called the gift “a major boost to our commitment to offer greater support for Duke graduate students, and to keep us competitive with our peers for recruiting the best.”

The gift will go toward the seven-year DukeForward capital campaign. The Graduate School's goal of $20 million is the smallest of the DukeForward targets sets by the University's 10 schools. But when the campaign reached the $2 billion mark last month, the Graduate School was furthest from its goal—with $5.2 million raised, the school had raised less than 30 percent of its target.

All other schools had raised at least 55 percent of their goal.

With the gift from the Duke Endowment, however, the Graduate School will have raised $12.7 of the $20 million, putting it on par with most of the University's other schools.