'Duke Forward' campaign rallies across schools, disciplines

Cameron Indoor Stadium is aglow as the Campaign Launch Weekend is kicked off Saturday night.  Jared Lazarus/Duke Photography
Cameron Indoor Stadium is aglow as the Campaign Launch Weekend is kicked off Saturday night. Jared Lazarus/Duke Photography

The University’s second capital campaign in history launched this weekend in an enthusiastic affirmation of Duke’s strategic priorities as an innovative and progressive institution.

Duke Forward: Partnering for the Future became official with the Board of Trustees’ approval and an announcement to donors Saturday afternoon. The campaign’s goal is set at $3.25 billion, and about $1.325 billion was raised in the campaign’s silent phase, which began in July 2010. The campaign will conclude in June 2017 and will raise funds for all of the University’s schools, Duke Medicine, athletics, facilities and financial aid, among other initiatives.

Nearly one-third of the campaign dollars will be injected directly into the University’s endowment, which was valued at $5.6 billion at the close of fiscal year 2011-2012. Growing the size of the University’s endowment is one of the primary motivations in this capital campaign, as it is essential to Duke’s growth as a university that already has high academic ratings relative to its endowment size, said Board of Trustees Chair Richard Wagoner, Trinity ’75.

“If we want to continue to move aggressively forward, a campaign like this... it is really a necessity,” Wagoner said. “We do this because we want to, but we also recognize that the University needs additional resources to support these aggressive visions.”

About 44 percent of campaign funds raised will go toward programmatic initiatives, 17 percent to facilities and 7 percent to the Duke Annual Fund.
The campaign is framed by three prevailing principles: enriching student education, furthering Duke’s global presence and maintaining the University’s momentum. About 40 percent of the campaign goal—or about $1.3 billion—will go toward the undergraduate experience overall. The University hopes to raise $435 million for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, $161.5 million for the Pratt School of Engineering, $250 million for Duke athletics and $1.2 billion for Duke Medicine.

The campaign’s goal for financial aid is well above $200 million, said President Richard Brodhead at a press conference Saturday, noting that the University hopes to surpass the $308 million raised in the Duke Financial Aid Initiative, which ended in 2008. Expanding financial aid is necessary for Duke to maintain its commitment to need-blind admissions for domestic students.

“With the situation in the economy, the amount of resources that the University is devoting to supporting financial aid is growing at a much faster rate than tuition or revenues,” Wagoner added. “We really do need in this campaign to make a significant step forward in the funding of endowment for financial aid... and that is not always the easiest kind of money to raise.”

The campaign is co-chaired by Trustees Anne Bass, Bruce Karsh, Trinity ’77 and David Rubenstein, Trinity ’70 and Board vice chair.

‘Why Duke? Why now?’

With its emphasis on collaboration and multidisciplinary education and experience, Duke Forward is a more holistic campaign than its predecessor, the Campaign for Duke, which concluded in 2003 and raised $2.36 billion. The Campaign for Duke raised money in specific “buckets,” but Duke Forward aims to raise money in larger collaborative pools that feed into the University’s strategic plan, Brodhead said. There is also less of an emphasis on facilities in Duke Forward.

“The last campaign was about assuring that Duke would enter the top rank of universities,” Brodhead said. “We don’t think that’s the goal this time—the goal this time is to use Duke’s special attributes to help it define new models of education.”

Brodhead noted a survey of school deans in summer 2009 that asked deans to name what would most advance their respective schools. Each response involved collaboration across schools.

The uniqueness of Duke’s collaborative education was a theme revisited throughout the weekend’s launch events. Saturday’s announcement and lunch, attended by about 700 distinguished donors, was followed by a private Duke Forward launch gala in Cameron Indoor Stadium in the evening. Donors, Trustees, University leaders, faculty and students were in attendance for the event.

Brodhead delivered the gala’s opening address, recalling Duke’s history and calling upon its most supportive donors.

“Why Duke, why now?” Brodhead said. “Because our distinctive culture... makes Duke uniquely suited to meet some of the future’s most critical needs, needs for critical forms of knowledge and also needs for people who know how to be creative problem solvers in a complicated and interdependent world.”

Bass, Karsh and Rubenstein delivered remarks, as did Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

‘A long time to run’

Although there was already support for the campaign, the weekend’s events were successful in energizing the University’s donors and community, Rubenstein said.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of capital campaigns in my life, and I think that this one got off to a stronger start than any other I’ve seen,” Rubenstein said in an interview.

Moving forward, Rubenstein said the campaign steering committee will continue to brainstorm and hold events around the country to stir up conversation and ideas for the campaign. Now that the schools’ and departments’ goals have been set, the committee can begin to approach particular groups of alumni with corresponding interests.

“Throughout the planning process, the Trustees were interested in making certain that we knew what we were going to do with the money we were going to raise,” he said.

Rubenstein said the main duties of the co-chairs are to contribute gifts and to energize others who may be interested in supporting Duke.

The duration of the campaign means Duke will have to maintain its fundraising momentum.

“Five years is a long time to run for, so we’re kind of moving from a sprint period to more of a mile run period where we need to keep a steady pace going,” Wagoner said.

Duke is not the only top university to launch a capital campaign in a time of relative economic uncertainty. Harvard University will launch a $6 billion capital campaign in 2013. Yale University concluded a campaign in June 2011 that raised $4 billion.

University leaders are confident in Duke’s donor base, despite the economic climate.

“There is just no overstating the extent to which people who are associated with this University believe in it,” Brodhead said. “The gifts we have brought in so far have been brought in in not very positive economic times, but I think people have been extraordinarily generous with us.”


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