‘We Will’ campaign hits $2.77 billion, nearly 18 months ahead of schedule

Madeline Fox, Campus Editor

Northwestern has raised nearly $2.77 billion as part of the “We Will” campaign, putting it nearly 18 months ahead of schedule, University President Morton Schapiro told The Daily.

The “We Will” campaign, a $3.75 billion fundraising initiative, was launched in March 2014 to support initiatives across the University in four categories — discovery and creativity, campus and community, student experience and global connections.

Although fundraising for the overall goal is well ahead of schedule — the campaign wasn’t expected to hit the $2.8 billion mark until summer 2018 — not all of the four categories are being filled at the same rate, Schapiro said.

“Some things we’ve raised completely and some we haven’t raised that much, so we’re in the process of looking where to go,” he said.

Because of the overall success, though, Schapiro said he is looking to possibly increase the campaign’s fundraising goal, noting that he would particularly like to focus on expanding undergraduate student aid.

Schapiro emphasized that although NU is need-blind in its admissions for U.S. students, it is not “experience blind.” The cost of some experiences, including Medill’s Journalism Residency and the practicum for students in the School of Education and Social Policy, still restricts opportunities for low-income students, he said.

“There are just so many aspects to financial aid that we’d want to support more generously,” Schapiro said. “There are a lot of things that are on the table that are very expensive, things that we should do, and will do, to make sure that everybody who comes here can take better advantage of everything we have to offer.”

Amanda Walsh, president of low-income student advocacy group NU Quest Scholars Network, also said she would like to see more money from the “We Will” campaign go toward student aid.

“It’s very important that one of the pillars of the ‘We Will’ campaign is making sure that we have a diverse student body, making sure that we have an inclusive and accessible student body,” the Communication senior said.

A portion of the money already raised has been directed toward need-based aid for international students, who, unlike domestic students, are not admitted need-blind. Roberta Buffett Elliott’s (Weinberg ’54) January 2015 donation of more than $100 million — the first of four gifts that surpassed $100 million last year — helped support scholarships for international students.

In total, the campaign has raised $141.7 million for scholarships, including 239 new scholarships and fellowships.

The campaign has benefitted not only from large gifts but from a large number of donors — 112,860 donors have contributed to the fund, taking the campaign to more than 80 percent of its 141,000 donor goal, the University announced Thursday. The campaign’s success led to an award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, which recognized NU in its “overall improvement” category for private research institutions with endowments of over $1 billion, University spokesman Bob Rowley said.

“It’s just been remarkably successful,” Rowley said. “I think of all the great things that will enable Northwestern to do. Think of all the good that can be done — to improve research, to serve students, to enhance the strategic goals of the University — with this kind of generosity.”

Stavros Agorakis contributed reporting.

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