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Campaign chalks up $947 million

According to the latest numbers, the University's Capital Campaign has raised $947 million and is now within nearly 5 percent of its $1 billion goal.

There is still over a year left in the Campaign, and fundraising is expected to surpass $1 billion by December, but officials said the Campaign will not be winding down as it nears its goal. On the contrary, private giving is going to have to become a mainstay at the University, where state funding has dropped over the years.

"In effect, the $1 billion is only going to be the beginning. This is only the beginning of the private refinancing of a public college," Vice President for Development Bob Sweeney said.

The most recent figure of $947 million is from data collected at the end of July and is up $10 million since the end of June. Gifts and pledges account for $835.3 million, while bequests and other future support account for $111.7 million of the total.

"It looks like the $10 million increase this month was pretty much across the board, all the schools did well," Director of Development Communications Bill Sublette said.

"This has just been an incredible period of momentum for the Campaign," Sweeney said. "We're finding that virtually every month is producing another positive surprise."

University fundraisers are benefiting from more experience and are continuing to identify new prospects among alumni.

For example, a number of young alumni, several of whom are founders and CEOs of Internet companies like Yahoo! and Infoseek, have been especially generous recently, giving gifts of several million dollars to the Campaign.

But July was not characterized by large gifts and was "mostly just regular good solid fundraising," Sweeney said.

Even before the Campaign reaches its conclusion in December of 2000, officials have begun to examine how to obtain money for the University's future needs, such as improved technology, new buildings for the arts and an arena.

"We are going to refocus the efforts after we reach the billion, but our ambitions are much more elevated today than they were even two years ago," Sweeney said. "The real challenge now is how far beyond $1 billion can we take it?"

Private fundraising will become integral to making the University one of the top schools in the nation, he said.

"What we're looking at is can we legitimately make a run at being one of the preeminent universities in the nation and it's clear that's going to have to come from private money. Where we want to go, no state could afford," he added.