Notre Dame campaign raises $2.014 billion

Author: Dennis Brown

Spirit of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame has become the first university without the powerful gift-giving attraction of a medical school to surpass $2 billion in a traditional seven-year capital campaign.

Titled the “Spirit of Notre Dame,” the campaign raised $2.014 billion in the seven-year span that ended June 30 – 134 percent of the $1.5 billion goal. The fund-raising effort also was the largest in the history of Catholic higher education, surpassing the $1.061 billion raised in the University’s “Generations” campaign that ended in December 2000.

“There are many people to thank for this wonderful achievement, but none more so than the alumni, parents and friends who have contributed so generously to this University, particularly during a time of worldwide economic uncertainty,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “This landmark accomplishment is a result of their belief in our mission to be a force for good in the world.

“The positive effects of these contributions already are being felt on our campus and around the world –through significant increases in financial aid, expanded undergraduate educational opportunities, faculty appointments, research and scholarship, laboratories and other facilities, and service to the Catholic Church –and they will be for decades to come.”

Richard C. Notebaert, chair of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, added: “The true success of the ‘Spirit’ campaign has been the way it has engaged tens of thousands of devoted members of the Notre Dame family. The legacy of this campaign will be felt not only by generations of students and their families, but also by those who only come to know Notre Dame through our good works and discoveries that benefit humanity.”

“Spirit” was structured to provide primary financial support to Notre Dame’s undergraduate educational experience, research and graduate studies, and Catholic intellectual life.

“The ‘Spirit’ campaign was different because Notre Dame is different – it’s more than a University, it’s a way of life,” said John W. “Jay” Jordan II, the campaign’s chair, a member of the Board and a 1969 alumnus. “It is the devotion and commitment of the Notre Dame family that we tried to focus and involve through the campaign. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the leadership and support of everyone who participated.”

Highlights of the “Spirit” campaign include:

  • Undergraduate student financial aid was the major beneficiary of the campaign, with $251 million raised for scholarships, the most in Notre Dame’s history.
  • Another $81.6 million was raised for law, master in business and Graduate School fellowships, more than twice that of the University’s previous campaign.
  • In direct support of the academy, more than $620 million was designated for the University’s five colleges and schools, and another $170.1 million was earmarked for academic centers and institutes.
  • The physical plant has been transformed through the campaign with 14 new facilities added, including:
  • Some $100 million was raised in support of the Catholic character of Notre Dame in the form of gifts for the Institute for Church Life and the Center for Social Concerns, the Institute for Educational Initiatives, including the ACE program, and the Keough-Hesburgh Professorships for world-class faculty who demonstrate a commitment to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
  • Of the $2.014 billion that was raised, nearly $1 billion was for new endowment and some $453.6 million was committed or given for capital projects (new buildings or renovations). The remaining $571 million was given to current operations (Notre Dame Annual Fund and expendable gifts) over the campaign’s seven-year life.
  • Thirty-seven donors made gifts of $10 million or more, with two in excess of $50 million.
  • There were more than 120,000 donors, including individuals, foundations, corporations and other organizations.
  • The undergraduate alumni participation rate for the campaign was 68 percent.

“Throughout the ‘Spirit’ campaign, we have been inspired by the sacrifices of countless members of the Notre Dame family who gave of their time and resources because Notre Dame is an important part of their lives, and the lives of their families and communities,” said Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations. “We have witnessed extraordinary acts of generosity in service of the campaign.”

The “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign was subtitled “Embracing the Life of the Mind, the Wisdom of the Heart.” It was the seventh capital campaign in the University’s history. In addition to “Generations,” other previous campaigns and their fund-raising totals are:

  • A Strategic Moment (1985 to 1990) – $463 million
  • Campaign for Notre Dame (1975 to 1981) – $180.5 million
  • Summa (1966 to 1972) – $62.5 million
  • Challenge II – $22 million
  • Challenge I (1960 to 1963) – $24.6 million

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on July 12, 2011.