Trouble viewing? Open in web browser.

Journalist Resources Stanford News Stanford Experts Contact Us
Stanford University homepage

News Service

January 10, 2006

Campaign for Undergraduate Education closes with all goals exceeded

By Ray Delgado

One of the most ambitious capital campaigns in the university's history drew to a close on Dec. 31, bringing unprecedented growth and new opportunities to undergraduate-education programs and ensuring that they remain vital for future generations of students.

The five-year Campaign for Undergraduate Education (CUE) exceeded all four of its goals, raising at least $1.1 billion (final figures are still being tallied) to make permanent reforms based on the 1994 report of the Commission on Undergraduate Education.

The university's ninth president, Gerhard Casper, appointed the commission, and President John Hennessy launched the $1 billion CUE at his inauguration in October 2000 to raise funds for exclusive use on new and existing undergraduate-education programs.

"Stanford has shown that a major research university can offer unique advantages for undergraduates," Hennessy said. "The success of this effort reflects a tremendous commitment to our undergraduates and the future of Stanford as a great university. On behalf of those students and my colleagues on the faculty, I am deeply grateful to our alumni, parents and friends for each and every gift to this campaign."

Few corners of the university have remained untouched by the efforts to reform undergraduate education, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, university officials would blush to observe the recent efforts of peer institutions such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale to overhaul their undergraduate-education systems.

Today's freshmen arrive at the Farm to find far greater opportunities than their predecessors did a decade ago. Some seminars and research-grant programs existed before the 1994 commission recommendations, but they have since been expanded and reorganized to become a more permanent part of the undergraduate landscape. Casper and former Provost Condoleezza Rice approved the creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, a recommendation of the commission, and it has since grown to oversee most university functions that deal with undergraduates.

The overall theme that emerged with the commission report was that the university could and should do a better job making available its resources as a research institution to undergraduates—namely, by increasing interactions between students and faculty.

To that end, the university created the Freshman and Sophomore Programs office to expand and create seminars for freshmen and sophomores that matched them with top faculty for intensive studies; the Undergraduate Research Opportunities office morphed into Undergraduate Research Programs, an office that distributes $4.2 million in seed money to departments, faculty and students for undergraduate research projects; and major efforts were made to boost the number of faculty who participated in advising programs.

From the beginning, it was clear that the kinds of reforms needed were going to require a permanent, sustained source of funding, and Hennessy, after consultation with the Board of Trustees, used the occasion of his inauguration to launch CUE. It was the largest campaign of its kind specifically focused on undergraduate education and was Stanford's first major campaign to follow the Centennial Campaign, which ended in 1992 after raising $1.269 billion.

CUE was co-chaired by Anne and Robert Bass, MBA '74; Helen and Peter Bing, '55; Susan Rasinski McCaw, '84, and Craig McCaw, '72; Helen and Charles Schwab, '59, MBA '61; and Akiko Yamazaki, '90, and Jerry Yang, '90, MS '90. The co-chairs themselves committed more than $200 million to the campaign, and other early gifts brought the campaign total to more than $425 million by the time it kicked off.

The campaign was divided into four main goals: a $300 million "endowment for undergraduate education" that would support the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education office; a $300 million endowment for undergraduate and athletic scholarships, including need-blind financial aid support; a $100 million goal for annual giving to the Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education, which supports student organizations, academic programs and need-based scholarships; and a $300 million component for undergraduate education programs across the university, such as Overseas Studies and the Haas Center for Public Service, and for the various schools. As of Dec. 31, 2005, the campaign had surpassed all of these goals.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Perhaps the most significant reform was the creation of the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), a central clearinghouse for the various ideas that were being proposed about new programs and changing academic standards. The office provided an organizational structure within the university where many programs could be housed and receive the attention to detail that they might not have received in the larger bureaucracy of the university.

Ramón Saldívar, the Hoagland Family Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, held the post of vice provost for undergraduate education from 1994 until 1999. John Bravman, a professor of materials science and engineering, has held the post ever since (now known as the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education) and has overseen the growth of an office that houses the Center for Teaching and Learning, Introduction to the Humanities, New Student Orientation, Undergraduate Advising Programs and Undergraduate Research Programs, among other programs.

CUE has played a major role in supporting the office and its functions, collecting more than $301 million over the five years for the specific goal of VPUE support. The financial support provided by CUE to the university's endowment currently funds about half of the VPUE budget, as compared to about 11 percent in the 2001-02 school year.

Campaign contributions establishing 41 faculty appointments in the Bass University Fellows in Undergraduate Education program, named in honor of Anne and Robert Bass in recognition of matching funds they provided for the program, were among the major gifts that specifically supported VPUE.

CUE funds help support offices such as Undergraduate Research Programs (URP) and the Freshman and Sophomore Programs, which oversees more than 220 introductory seminars and the popular Sophomore College, which matches incoming sophomores with top-notch faculty for more than two weeks of intensive study before the Autumn Quarter begins.

Sophomore College and the introductory seminars have proven to be invaluable experiences for many of the students who have taken them because they have exposed students to areas of study that they might not have considered before, said Sharon Palmer, director of Freshman and Sophomore Programs. Palmer cited a 1995 study showing that students who participated in Sophomore College were twice as likely to go on to doctoral programs as opposed to law school or medical school as an example of the ways in which the preconceived career tracks of students could be affected by exposure to other fields.

"Undergraduates now have a lot more opportunity very early on to make the contacts with faculty that are going to give them both exposure to fields they have not studied and to give them confidence in working as co-contributors with faculty," Palmer said. "That early exposure gives the students the knowledge, confidence and capacity to go further in their college careers."

Before CUE, Stanford piloted Freshman and Sophomore Seminars with 165 seminars enrolling almost 1,600 students. Last year, the university offered 204 seminars, enrolling 2,331 students.

The increased focus on undergraduate research also has proven invaluable, not only to the many students who shop around universities for those opportunities but to faculty who have come to see undergraduates as invaluable research partners. For more than three decades, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities office awarded funds to undergraduates who were interested in research projects—mainly humanities students working on their senior theses. The program was restructured, expanded and renamed Undergraduate Research Programs five years ago to place more emphasis on providing funding not just for students but also for departments and individual faculty proposals.

Whereas the office supported about 300 students with research grants 10 years ago, it now supports around 1,400 students, mostly through summer research programs in which students receive stipends to support themselves while they are conducting research.

"In order for students to stay on campus and conduct research, they have to be able to support themselves," said Susie Brubaker-Cole, the director of URP. "And this money makes it possible for students to work full time on their research instead of spending time on a job or finding money to support themselves. This campaign has made it possible for students to spend intensive and uninterrupted time with faculty and research groups over the summer making progress toward new discoveries and new applications of knowledge."

Endowed scholarships for undergraduates

With more than 40 percent of undergraduates receiving need-based scholarships directly from the university, the campaign set a goal of raising $250 million for those scholarships, plus another $50 million for athletic scholarships.

Campaign donors endowed 300 new need-based scholarship funds, bringing the total number at Stanford to 954, an increase of 46 percent. Donors also created 103 new athletic scholarship funds, raising Stanford's total to 314. These funds now provide full or partial scholarships to more than 400 of Stanford's more than 850 varsity student-athletes.

The preliminary total for CUE commitments to endow both need-based and athletic scholarships exceeded $302 million.

Annual giving to The Stanford Fund

Although much of the campaign focused on building endowment to support undergraduate education initiatives, a $100 million goal was set for annual giving to The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education. During the campaign, giving to the annual fund grew from an average of $11.5 million to $19.5 million per year. In August, The Stanford Fund met its CUE goal by surpassing a five-year total, including pledges, of $100 million.

The Stanford Fund—which supports need-based scholarships, student organizations and academic programs—provided seed funding to pilot Freshman and Sophomore Seminars and other initiatives that gave rise to CUE.

Undergraduate programs across the university

The campaign's fourth goal focused on the entirety of the undergraduate experience, seeking support for the Bing Overseas Studies Program, the Haas Center for Public Service and undergraduate programs in the various schools. A goal of $50 million was set for the Overseas Studies Program to support new programs in China and Australia and a new three-week overseas seminars program. Thanks to a recent commitment of endowment from the Bings, which drew a matching grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the center was renamed in the Bings' honor. To date, the program has raised about $54 million, exceeding its goal.

Similarly, the Haas Center for Public Service received an infusion of endowment funds during the campaign, including major support from longtime donors Mimi and Peter Haas and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. Gifts were also spread among the various schools for undergraduate programs, including a $10 million grant for the Earth Systems Program, a grant to encourage participation of women and minorities in science and engineering in the School of Engineering, and support for the School of Humanities and Sciences for undergraduate programs in Human Biology, Symbolic Systems, and Stanford in Washington, among others. In the three schools that grant undergraduate degrees, CUE donors established 48 new endowed professorships.

With additional support for athletics, the libraries and other areas of the university, the campaign's fourth goal topped $380 million.

"CUE represents a great team effort on the part of our academic leaders and faculty, the development and alumni association staff, and our many volunteers and donors," said Martin Shell, vice president for development. "We thank everyone who contributed to this incredible success."

In addition to its financial goals, CUE sought to engage more alumni, parents, and friends in the life of the university. A series of presentations, the "Think Again" tour, staged in 12 cities from Los Angeles to New York in 2001-02, showcased the changes in undergraduate education for almost 8,000 guests. At the events, faculty led classes modeled on their undergraduate seminars and students described how they combined classes, research grants, overseas studies and other opportunities to follow their intellectual paths.

"All of these events allowed the greater Stanford community to experience what the university was doing for undergraduates and the truly transformative nature of these educational offerings," said Howard Wolf, vice president for alumni affairs and president of the alumni association. "They also provided a model and a lot of momentum for ongoing regional events."

Even before the final dollar is counted, CUE will go down as one of the most successful campaigns ever undertaken by a major university. But the real measure of success in the campaign is seen in the thousands of examples of students and faculty at the university whose studies and research have been enriched because of the new opportunities made possible by the commission report and the campaign.

Sarah Carroll, a senior majoring in economics, spent the past summer working as a research assistant for Michele Tertilt, an assistant professor of economics, through the department's summer honors program. She said her work with Tertilt helped broaden her academic horizons in areas she hadn't considered before.

"Before working with her, I knew that I was interested in economic development, but this summer, we focused largely on gender issues and their relationship with economic development, which wasn't something I had thought about in much depth," Carroll said. "However, I'm now working on an honors thesis that is closely related to the topics that Michele and I researched—my work with her took my own research in a completely different direction."



Ray Delgado, News Service: (650) 724-5708,


Tim Portwood, assistant vice president for development: (650) 723-0070,


Update your subscription

  • Email:
  • Phone: (650) 723-2558

More Stanford coverage

Facebook Twitter iTunes YouTube Futurity RSS

Journalist Resources Stanford News Stanford Experts Contact Us

© Stanford University. Stanford, California 94305. (650) 723-2300.