University President Jim Ryan announced during the Honor the Future campaign address the University has already raised $2.75 billion toward its $5 billion goal. The fundraising campaign publicly launched this weekend with a schedule of events open to the public. This campaign is one of the “most ambitious in the nation among public universities,” according to Mark Luelle, the University’s vice president for Advancement. The campaign will continue through the spring of 2025, while the University solicits a large number of donations in smaller amounts. This differs from the “quiet phase” that led up to the public launch, in which fewer donors gave larger gifts. Ryan preceded the announcement by reading a letter addressed to the “not-too-distant future,” where he described the University’s accomplishments throughout its history and the work that still needs to be done for it to reach its full potential. “We are at a critical moment for higher education,” Ryan said. “The public is surprisingly skeptical about the value of a college degree, and the contributions of higher education to human progress. I say, surprisingly, because our system of higher education has been the envy of the world for generations, the creator of vast new bodies of knowledge and an engine of social mobility.” The address followed a panel of distinguished alumni moderated by Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magell and included Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; Chris Long, humanitarian and former NFL player; Leland Melvin, astronaut S.T.E.A.M. explorer; and Cheryl Mills, former deputy White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton and counselor and chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The rest of the weekend will include a performance by musician Tony Bennett below the Rotunda tonight and a brunch tomorrow morning on the South Lawn.