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Columbia Launches Major Fundraising Campaign

Panel discussion
President Lee Bollinger moderates a panel discussion with some of Columbia's most distinguished faculty

Visit the campaign's video archive for coverage of the launch event and panel.

On Friday, Sept. 29, Columbia University launched a $4 billion fundraising campaign in global style, with simultaneous events in New York, London and Hong Kong.

The campaign seeks to add $1.6 billion to Columbia's endowment, with special emphasis on financial aid and faculty support across the campuses. Also sought is $1 billion for new and renovated facilities and $1.4 billion for spendable support of programs throughout the University. Increasing alumni engagement is another explicit campaign goal.

President Bollinger, joined by several University trustees and other campaign leaders, presided at the New York event, which took place at Columbia Law School.

"How can we, in our time, do the work needed to lift up generations of Columbians yet to come?" asked Bollinger. "To answer that question requires the collective commitment of a University campaign, one as ambitious as the academic ambitions it will make possible."

Bollinger's words were beamed via satellite link to audiences in London and Hong Kong. The London group was joined by Provost Alan Brinkley, and the Hong Kong group by Vice Provost for International Relations Paul Anderer and political scientist Xiaobo Lü.
The launch event also featured a panel discussion, "What Don't We Know?" Several Columbia professors -- maternal and fetal health specialist Mary D'Alton, Nobel laureate and neuroscientist Eric Kandel, physicist Brian Greene, cultural critic Margo Jefferson, and historian Carol Gluck -- along with trustee and business leader Vikram Pandit, debated the issues likely to dominate the frontiers of scholarship in years to come.

Scheduled to run through 2011, the campaign encompasses smaller initiatives spearheaded by individual schools and programs, such as the $100 million campaign to mark the Graduate School of Journalism's centennial, announced earlier this week. At the time of its official launch, the campaign had raised $1.6 billion in cash and pledges. Recent gifts include $29 million from Robert Yik-Fong Tam (BUS'50), a banker, and his sister, Wun Tsun Tam, an educator, to support a number of faculty positions and provide seed money for the Committee on Global Thought. And University trustee Gerry Lenfest, LAW'58, has pledged to match $48 million in donations to endow faculty chairs in the arts and sciences and at the law school.

Significantly, the campaign launch comes on the heels of last week's announcement that, beginning next year, Columbia will replace loans with grants for students in Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science whose families earn less than $50,000 per year. Indeed, one prominent goal of the campaign is raising $425 million for financial aid in those two schools.

-- Marcus Tonti, Alumni Affairs

To watch the Webcast of the campaign launch event, go to: alumni.columbia.edu/campaign/launch.

Published: Sep 29, 2006
Last modified: Nov 14, 2007