University of Pennsylvania fund-raising campaign exceeds goal by nearly $1 billion

Posted: March 02, 2013

The University of Pennsylvania exceeded its recent fund-raising goal by almost $1 billion, bringing in $4.3 billion in its "Making History Campaign," officials announced Thursday.

Penn surpassed the $3.5 billion target, announced in 2007, 16 months before the official end of the campaign in December. That's especially noteworthy considering that the campaign was launched just before the country plunged into recession.

The university has used the money to increase financial aid, support research and interdisciplinary programming, and boost its endowment. About $1.9 billion was targeted for Penn's $6.8 billion endowment.

Penn president Amy Gutmann began preparing for the campaign shortly after her arrival in 2004 and has drawn praise for her fund-raising ability, a major occupation for a college president.

"The impact of the Making History Campaign on increasing educational access, integrating knowledge across disciplines, and putting that knowledge to good work in the world has been nothing short of transformational," Gutmann said in a statement. "The overwhelming response we received is a testament to the strength and confidence of our community. People participated because Penn's work resonates with them and what they are passionate about."

The university announced the results to the Penn community Thursday evening.

Nearly 327,000 donors contributed, the university said. The largest gift was in 2011 from Raymond G. Perelman and the late Ruth Perelman, who gave $225 million to name the Perelman School of Medicine.

Cumulatively, the biggest donor was the late Leonore Annenberg, who, through the Annenberg Foundation, gave more than $286 million, used to fund communication, research, and educational outreach programs and endowed professorships, according to the university.

Donors contributed $652 million to financial aid for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Penn has more than doubled its financial-aid budget over the last eight years, allocating $181 million for undergraduates this year. Under Gutmann, the university started its no-loan policy, meeting students' financial need with grants rather than adding to their debt burden.

Nearly half of Penn undergraduates receive aid, a 10-percentage-point increase over the last seven years, the university said.

In addition, $573 million will go toward faculty, director, coach, and curator positions. The donations allowed the university to add 161 endowed faculty positions. Twenty-two professors are part of the "Penn Integrates Knowledge" program, in which the university hired prominent professors who have joint appointments in two fields, designed to integrate learning and teaching across disciplines.

The university also used some of the money to upgrade and add buildings and green space to its 279-acre campus.

New buildings include the Roberts Proton Therapy Center, the Smilow Center for Translational Research, the law school's Golkin Hall, the Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion with research space for the veterinary school, a new building for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which will open this year. The campaign targeted $753 million for new buildings.

Other new buildings in the works through the fund-raising campaign are the Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building and the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.

Money from the campaign also allowed the university to transform a 24-acre asphalt parking area into the Penn Park athletic and recreational grounds.

Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693,, or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq. Read her blog, "Campus Inq," at

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