CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - After nine years and despite a recession, the University of Virginia has exceeded its $3 billion fundraising goal.
President Teresa A. Sullivan announced during graduation exercises Sunday that the university had met the goal, calling it "the most ambitious capital campaign in the history of public higher education."
The campaign started quietly in 2004, two years before it was announced publicly. By that time, the school already had raised more than $1 billion. But a recession that began soon after put a dent in donations and the university missed the deadline it had set of meeting the goal by the end of 2011.
Sullivan praised U.Va. Senior Vice President for Development and Public Affairs Bob Sweeney and his staff for reaching the goal despite "considerable economic adversity."
"All of us who care about this university and its future are incredibly grateful to everyone who made the success of the campaign possible," Sullivan said.
The university received donations from more than 220,000 individuals and corporations, according to a news release. The gifts included both small and large contributions. Some donors transferred ownership of art, real estate and rare and historic maps to U.Va.
Gifts to the campaign haven funded more than 1,000 endowments, construction of new buildings for science, engineering and medical research and the first phase of the Rotunda renovation.
Yale University began a similar capital campaign in 2004, raising $1.1 billion before it went public in 2006. The private, Ivy League school closed the campaign in 2011 with $3.2 billion raised, a record for it.
Efforts at other public institutions also have been successful, according to The Daily Progress of Charlottesville.
The University of Southern California, the state's oldest private research university, launched in fall 2011 a $6 billion initiative that it called "the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of higher education."
Stanford University closed a campaign two months later that raised $6.2 billion.
Another public school, the University of Michigan, closed an eight-year campaign, "Michigan Difference," at $3.2 billion in 2008 after reaching its original $2.5 billion goal more than a year early.