NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale University has raised $3.88 billion amid tough economic times, finishing the largest fundraising campaign in its history that will help pay for its biggest expansion in decades, extend its international reach and make its school of music tuition free.
The campaign exceeded its goal of $3.5 billion. More than 110,000 alumni, parents, friends, corporations and foundations contributed.
Yale began the campaign in 2006 with a nucleus fund of $1.147 billion, and by 2008 giving had reached $2.3 billion. While the global economic crisis brought a decline in giving for 2009 and 2010, contributions totaling more than $857 million in the final year.
"Despite challenges that included a historic worldwide recession, donors at every level of giving rallied behind the university's goals and took us to an amazing final total," said Inge T. Reichenbach, vice president for development.
Don Fellows, president and chief executive officer of Marts & Lundy, a New Jersey-based consulting firm that works with universities, said he was not surprised Yale was successful. He said universities have been very effective at fundraising, understanding their donors and articulating how they can change the world by making contributions.
"This is consistent with what we've seen at other, particularly the most mature universities," said Fellows, whose firm was not involved in the campaign but has done work for Yale in the past. "It's been incredibly successful through some of the toughest times we've ever seen."
Ten donors made gifts of $50 million or more, Yale said.
Yale is one of a handful of universities with campaigns that have reached or exceeded $3.5 billion, according to Rae Goldsmith, vice president for advancement resources with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Large campaigns rely more heavily on major donations, she said.
The University of Michigan reported raising more than $3 billion two years ago.
The University of Pennsylvania is on track to raise $3.5 billion, said John Glier, chief executive officer of Grenzebach Glier, a Chicago-based consulting firm that has advised Yale and other universities.
The campaign at Yale will help pay for two new residential colleges expected to increase student enrollment by 15 percent to 6,100. It will be the university's largest expansion since it began admitting women in 1969.
Contributions will pay for more international scholars, for every undergraduate to work or study abroad, student exchanges with China and an initiative focused on studying India and south Asia. Every school and department added to the international dimensions of its teaching and research, Yale officials said.
"The Yale Tomorrow campaign has made Yale a stronger institution and magnified our impact on the world," said Yale President Richard C. Levin. "I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary support of our donors. Many generations of students will benefit from their generosity."
Other projects include a new School of Management campus and a renovated and expanded school of architecture and Yale University Art Gallery.
The campaign will help create the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, which Yale hopes will make it an international hub for the preservation of books, artwork, artifacts and natural specimens.
Substantial gifts also were directed to the Yale Stem Cell Center, a neuroscience center, the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, a planned energy institute and a new Institute for Cancer Biology.
Money also was raised for more financial aid.