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Vest To Announce $1 Billion Campaign in November

By Rima Arnaout
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

In an effort to boost the programming and improve facilities across campus, the MIT administration is planning a capital campaign to raise one billion dollars over the next seven years.

“As far as I’m concerned, [the campaign] has already begun,” said President Charles M. Vest. “When you mount a capital campaign, you really try to raise around a third of the money before it’s publicly announced so you have some confidence that you will in fact be successful.” The campaign will be publicly announced in November.

“Our goal will be to increase the amount of money given to MIT by at least 50 percent,” Vest said. “We currently raise on the order of $130,000,000 dollars a year,” which in seven years should add up to the billion dollars MIT hopes to raise.

There have been several recent gifts, such as those given by Raymond S. Stata ’57, Chairman of Analog Devices, and Alexander V. D’Arbeloff, to help the campaign get on its way.

Vest is “in the process right now of holding about a dozen consultation dinners around the country” to talk to “people who are potential donors.”

Private funds grow in importance

Vest hopes that the campaign will “raise the level of giving to the institution... what normally happens is that [giving] grows rather steeply during the duration of the campaign and then hopefully remains at that level.”

The campaign is also a “mechanism for focusing the institution... on what priorities are and how to go about accomplishing them,” Vest said.

The timing for the capital campaign is also significant. “MIT is going to be increasingly dependent on private support. That’s because the other two sources of revenue -- tuition and federally sponsored research -- are either not going to grow very fast or possibly even be reduced,” Vest said.

Steering committee to be named

To direct the progress of the capital campaign the administration is currently naming about a dozen people affiliated with MIT but from outside the Institute to head up a capital campaign steering committee.

The steering committee will be “working with a number of possible donors and being available to address groups and explain the importance of the campaign,” Stata said, chair of the steering committee.

Steering committee members are being chosen because their own financial commitments to MIT gives them a good background from which to solicit gifts from others. “Ray [Stata] is a wonderful person,” Vest said, “and of course now he has the opportunity to stand up and say, ‘I did something spectacular and you should too.’”

Another member of the committee so far includes Chairman of the MIT Corporation and Teradyne cofounder Alexander V. D’Arbeloff ’49. According to the Office of Resource Development, all the steering committee members should be announced by the end of April.

Campaign fits into larger plan

Another major responsibility of the steering committee will be to integrate the fundraising efforts of the capital campaign into the administration’s broader financial plan for MIT.

This plan is being designed by Vest, Executive Vice-President John R. Curry, Provost Robert A. Brown, and Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72, includes not only building projects but programmatic changes to the campus as well as an increase in endowment spending.

“The campaign is an element of a broader financial plan for the institution. The financial plan is something that I ultimately have to present to the trustees and get adopted,” Vest said.

Vest, Curry, Brown and Bacow will work closely with the Academic Council to design the capital campaign. While “we are still in the process of designing the campaign, with a goal of announcing it and its specific goals next November,” Vest said, some projects are apparently already earmarked to be funded by the capital campaign.

Campaign funds dorms, buildings

“The capital campaign will fund a wide variety of projects that have already been committed,” D’Arbeloff said. “These include the new Computer Science Building and the new dormitories. Other buildings and significant renovation of our campus are under consideration.”

The financial plan includes raising the funds for many projects throughout MIT. As far as physical improvements to the campus go, “there are several projects which are underway or are moving into the queue,” Vest said.

“Things are moving ahead very rapidly with the new undergraduate residence hall, the Stata Center,” the second phase of the Baker House restoration, Vest said. “In addition, there will be a major expansion of the Media Lab... most of the funding for that has in fact been raised.”

Within the next ten years, Vest also hopes to see the new central athletics facility and a graduate residence become reality. Furthermore, “we are looking at a series of issues around the facilities of the Sloan School and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences,” Vest said.

Money raised from the capital campaign will also be used to fund programmatic improvements to MIT. In terms of academic programs, “we continue to grow the life sciences,” Vest said. “We hope to move very aggressively in the area of neuroscience” which Vest foresees will have “a very exciting future on the campus.” Energy will also focus on developing environmental and cancer research.

Other improvements will be made possible as the capital campaign increases MIT’s ability to spend from its endowment. The capital campaign will add to the endowment, which will be used more actively. The endowment currently totals approximately $4 billion.

“When we raise [capital campaign] money for professorships, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate scholarships, those are things that build endowment,” Vest said. They don’t provide a huge amount of new income in a given year, but they really build the stability of the institution for the long run. I cannot tell right now what the balance between gifts to be expended and gifts to build endowment will be.”

In particular, money will go to lower the cost of graduate education, to eliminate summer tuition for graduate students, and to create more graduate fellowships. “We clearly have as a goal for strengthening further the underlying financial aid for our undergraduates as well,” Vest said.

The endowment will also be used as MIT increases expenditures on maintenance and renewal of existing facilities such as classrooms and access to information technology.