The Cavalier Daily
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Officials seek strong finish for Campaign

If you are planning to donate funds to the University, now is the time to do it. The University's $1 billion Capital Campaign will draw to a close at the end of this year.

The historic campaign officially began in October 1995 to support the goal of greater financial self-sufficiency from the Commonwealth, which holds the purse strings of the University's budget but has restricted financing over the last decade, Vice President for Development Robert D. Sweeney said.

Besides greater financial autonomy, the University also had several specific goals in mind for the campaign. These included bolstering support for students, attracting and retaining gifted teachers and scholars and harnessing new advances in information technology.

The University also intended to use the funds to achieve the lofty goals of meeting the emerging health care needs of the region, the state and the nation; providing the facilities necessary to support first-rate academic programs; advancing the study and performance of the arts; bringing facilities for sports and recreation up to par; and preserving the University's architectural legacy.

Initial discussion about the campaign began in 1992. In July of the following year, the campaign's "Quiet Phase" began. During this time the University detailed gifts to determine what an appropriate goal would be.

Initially set at $500 million before the campaign's official kickoff, the goal soon swelled to $750 million after the donations kept rolling in.

After receiving larger donations than anticipated when the campaign began, the Board of Visitors increased the campaign's original goal of $750 million to a whopping $1 billion at its February 1998 meeting.

The University surpassed its $1 billion goal, once considered unattainable, with a $62 million gift to the Darden School from alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., announced Dec. 10, 1999.

By Oct. 31, the campaign funds totaled $1.256 billion.

The campaign is "the most successful such campaign ever undertaken in a public institution, and one of the five or six most successful ever undertaken anywhere," President John T. Casteen III said.

By the campaign's end, funds are expected to total $1.3 billion, more than double the original goal, Sweeney said.

"One word comes to mind - and that is 'unprecedented,'" he said.

The campaign has drawn astonishingly high levels of support from all sections of the University community - alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students.

Final campaign figures will be available in the middle of January.