AUBURN – Auburn University has surpassed its $500 million “It Begins at Auburn” Campaign goal with a $5 million gift from Raymond and Kathryn Harbert of Birmingham. The gift brings the campaign total to $504,657,718, the largest amount of private dollars ever raised in the state of Alabama.
Though this milestone has been reached, the campaign will continue until its previously announced conclusion date of March 31, 2008.
“We are accomplishing our goal through the help of the entire Auburn family,” said AU President Ed Richardson. “This campaign will help fund countless scholarships and bring more nationally recognized faculty to Auburn University. Its positive impact on Alabama is significant and will be felt for many years.”
Auburn’s campaign has raised more than twice the amount of AU’s “Next Generation” effort in the 1990s. The “It Begins at Auburn” Campaign provides funding for all AU colleges and schools as well as the AU libraries and museums, athletics and Auburn University Montgomery. Endowments for student scholarships, faculty and programs make up the remainder of the campaign’s goal. In addition to endowments, the campaign’s focus includes facilities and equipment, campus beautification, research and current operations.
“The continuing success of the campaign is due to the well-organized and executed effort of the employees and volunteers who worked on it,” said Sam Ginn, campaign co-chair. “This achievement says a tremendous amount about the value Auburn University supporters place on a sound educational system.
“The funds being raised in this effort will have a lasting impact on the university and Alabama’s higher education system,” Ginn added. “However, Auburn University’s endowment is not sufficient to meet its long-term strategic goals. For this reason it is important we do not lose focus during these last nine months of the campaign and in future fundraising efforts.”
Campaign Co-Chair Sally Jones Hill said exceeding the goal nine months ahead of schedule underscores the Auburn family’s strong commitment and support of the university.
“The campaign’s success would not be possible without the efforts of many people. Although we have surpassed our overall goal, there are still many areas, such as scholarships, that could use additional funding,” Hill said. “Reaching our goal is a milestone, but it’s not the finish line.”
The Harberts’ gift is not only significant in reaching the campaign’s goal, but it is also the largest single gift ever made to AU’s College of Business. The multi-million dollar gift will provide unrestricted dollars to support the construction of an investment center in the Lowder Business Building – the only one in Alabama, and one of only three among southeastern conference schools – which will enable students to experience “real world” investing. The gift will also provide an endowment to support on-going maintenance and operations of the center and an endowment funding an eminent scholar chair.