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COMMENT: John Ford, vice president for development, (650) 725-4256

Stanford launches five-year, $1 billion Campaign for Undergraduate Education

President John Hennessy today used the occasion of his inauguration as Stanford' s tenth president to announce the launch of a five-year $1 billion Campaign for Undergraduate Education. The campaign will seek permanent funding for the major initiatives the university has taken in recent years to improve the undergraduate educational experience through smaller classes, and to ensure that a Stanford education continues to be available to students regardless of their families' financial situation.

"I am pleased to announce that today we are launching the Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which will seek to raise one billion dollars over the next five years," Hennessy said in his inaugural address at Frost Amphitheater. "This goal makes it the largest campaign devoted exclusively to undergraduate education ever undertaken by a university."

He said that reaching the campaign' s goal will create an endowment supporting all aspects of the series of undergraduate initiatives known as Stanford Introductory Studies, "making these innovations a permanent part of our culture," and will substantially increase the endowment for undergraduate financial aid "so that we can continue to accept the most qualified students without considering their ability to pay."

Isaac Stein, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the campaign, which has been dubbed the CUE, "is not about bricks and mortar, but rather, quite simply, about ideas. We need to make permanent the innovations to our undergraduate experience that have proven so effective in nurturing ideas in classrooms and in laboratories."

The CUE' s objectives are:

  • $300 million in endowment specifically for undergraduate programs. In recent years, Stanford has instituted programs that emphasize small-group experiences with the university' s senior faculty. Some of these initiatives target freshmen and sophomores while others offer juniors and seniors expanded opportunities for independent study and research. Since 1994, Stanford has increased its budget for these initiatives from $4 million to $17 million, primarily through the use of seed money provided by Helen and Peter Bing as well as university general funds, other expendable gifts and annual support from The Stanford Fund. The new $300 million endowment, however, will help support these kinds of programs in perpetuity.
  • $300 million for endowed scholarships -- $250 million for need-based scholarships and $50 million for endowed athletic scholarships. Stanford is one of only a handful of private U.S. colleges and universities that practice "need-blind admission," accepting all undergraduate students without regard to their families' ability to pay. Seventy-two percent of undergraduates qualify for some sort of financial assistance and 42 percent qualify for aid directly from Stanford. This year, Stanford has budgeted $53.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, but only $31.4 million of that amount comes from existing endowed scholarships, expendable gifts to The Stanford Fund and other expendable gifts. Almost $13 million comes from general funds. Compared to its peer institutions, Stanford' s current endowment is low; at Princeton, for example, the endowment covers virtually all undergraduate financial aid while at Stanford that figure is 42 percent. The $50 million sought for athletics scholarships will help maintain the scope and quality of the athletics program. Like the entire budget for intercollegiate athletics, athletic scholarships are not supported by general funds and are provided solely by donors.
  • $300 million to support the full range of opportunities available to undergraduates, including programs in the schools of Humanities and Sciences, Engineering and Earth Sciences, the libraries, athletics, the Haas Center for Public Service, Overseas Studies, Stanford in Washington and other areas.
  • $100 million for The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education, which provides need-based scholarships and seed funding for curriculum and teaching innovations. The Fund seeks to continue to increase the percentage of alumni who make annual gifts of any size.

"Among universities the world over, Stanford is second to none in its commitment to undergraduates as participants in the unceasing process of inquiry," said former President Gerhard Casper, who is convening co-chair of the CUE and under whom the university made great strides in revitalizing undergraduate education.

"As my title indicates, I, last year, convened a small group of Stanford supporters to assess our accomplishments and what needs to be done to provide for undergraduates at Stanford on a lasting basis. President Hennessy and I believe strongly that a campaign specifically for undergraduate education that will have broad participation is indispensable if we are to maintain our leadership contributions to undergraduate education."

The CUE' s co-chairs are five couples who span the generational spectrum of Stanford alumni: Anne and Robert Bass, M.B.A. ' 74; Helen and Peter Bing, ' 55; Susan Rasinski McCaw, ' 84, and Craig McCaw, ' 72; Helen and Charles Schwab, ' 59, M.B.A. ' 61; and Akiko Yamazaki, ' 90 and Jerry Yang, ' 90, M.S. ' 90.

"Without financial assistance, I would not have been able to attend Stanford," said Yang, who is co-founder of Yahoo! "The decision to contribute to Stanford is an easy one, as education means so much to both my wife, Akiko, and me. We hope some of our fellow younger alums will join us in helping ensure that Stanford can continue to admit undergraduates without regard to their financial situations."

Bass, former chair of the Board of Trustees, said the campaign "will secure the permanence of the innovations that Stanford has implemented over the last decade. Today Stanford offers the best undergraduate education available anywhere. The resources we raise will allow us to continue to attract the very best students and faculty, and, as [former President] David Starr Jordan observed, to watch good things happen."

The co-chairs themselves have together committed more than $200 million to the campaign, and other early gifts bring the campaign total to more than $425 million.

"Once again, Stanford is launching a bold fund-raising campaign. To my knowledge, no other college or university has sought $1 billion solely for undergraduate education," said John Ford, vice president for development. He noted that more than half of the campaign amount is dedicated to the endowment, "which clearly demonstrates the university' s commitment to its undergraduates now and in the years to come."

The improvements to Stanford' s undergraduate education came in response to the 1994 findings of a commission appointed by Casper that undertook a comprehensive review of the undergraduate experience. Stanford Introductory Studies came as a result, giving students like Ashley Leydig an opportunity to take small classes with senior faculty, such as Virginia Walbot, professor of biological sciences.

Leydig, with about a dozen other students, took Walbot' s course, "Biotechnology in Everyday Life" as a freshman last year.

"It was cool to work with someone who was still actually doing the research," Leydig said of Walbot' s investigations of genetically engineered corn. "She had the time to have individual discussions with us, and to talk about the ethical issues involved. And she still e-mails the class members, giving us advice about internships."

Another result of the 1994 commission study was the creation of the position of vice provost for undergraduate education, a post first held by Ramón Saldívar, Hoagland Family Professor English and now held by John Bravman, the Bing Centennial Professor in Materials Science and Engineering.

"Over the past five years, Stanford has developed a set of undergraduate initiatives that has transformed the educational opportunities open to our students. The Freshman and Sophomore Seminar programs, the Introduction to the Humanities courses, Sophomore College and the Summer Research College, to name a few, are all designed to help our undergraduates make the transition from student to scholar, and to make available to them the best aspects of a research university," Bravman said.

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