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COUNCIL: State of the University

October 26, 2010, Volume 57, No. 09

John Zeller

The slides I’m going to show you tell a remarkable story. The last two years have represented some of the greatest challenges in non-profit fundraising that we have ever seen in our history, and I think that was best illustrated by the recent chronicle of the top 400 organizations in the country that saw a decline of 11% year over year in terms of their fundraising success.

It is a remarkable testament to what Penn is trying to accomplish and to the hard work that has been devoted by our trustees, our volunteers, our deans, the president, who have really worked very hard since the start of this campaign and have been particularly challenged in the last 24 months. 
As of the 15th of October, we are at $2.85 billion against our $3.5 billion goal. $2.5 billion of the $2.85 billion in commitments is already in hand. So at a time when non-profit organizations were finding it extremely difficult to sustain their momentum and even be able to hold pledges that have been made, our donors have come through in a remarkable fashion, giving us cash at one of the most critical times for non-profits. 

The other thing is that if you look at this trajectory, and its simply a straight line on how to get to $3.5 billion, I think what’s important to note is that from the time that we’ve kicked off this campaign, and trust me, and I think Dr. Gutmann would agree, timing is everything, kicking off in October of 2007 was a lot better than trying to do it in 2008 or 2009. Over the subsequent two and a half years, we have raised over $1.3 billion. So, even in the most challenging fundraising environment, we continue to enjoy success. 

The real key for us in this campaign are the core priorities. This is a list of the key priorities that we identified at the beginning of the campaign. If you look at what the goals were, which are really stretch goals, these are extraordinary numbers to try to achieve. The undergraduate student aid goal is $350 million. We are at 67% of that goal right now. I should note that $237 million was raised over five years, and in the preceding eight years before the campaign we raised $204 million. So in five years, we’ve raised some $35 million more than we raised in the preceding eight and a half years. It is resonating, but there is more work to do. 

I should note that campus life, the $83 million, at 12% really represents two naming opportunities. One for $50 million for the college house and the second for the ARCH, which are two very high priorities in this campaign, and we are optimistic. 

The other being the neurobehavioral sciences building, which is one of the highest priorities for the School of Arts and Sciences, and again, that represents a naming opportunity. 50% of this campaign was earmarked for endowment. We have already raised $1.23 million in commitments towards the $1.75 billion goal.

We have three elements to the Making History Campaign, the goal of $3.5 billion, we have the core priorities at $1.7 billion, and then we have non-financial objectives. We have almost 300,000 alumni, 52% of them are undergraduate, 51% of our alumni student body has graduated in the last 20 years, and that is both undergraduate and graduate. Failure to address the engagement of that constituency as part of this campaign would be short- sighted in terms of the identification of volunteers, trustees and great leadership that we’ll need at this institution 20 or 30 years from now. 
It’s the only multi billion-dollar campaign in this country that has publicly stated non-financial objectives and metrics behind those to help demonstrate the success of this campaign.

Even the goal to support Penn’s commitment to non-financial objectives through annual gifts is about participation in the life of this institution and it has resonated very well with our alumni around the world.

A couple of weeks ago we had our inaugural Penn Spectrum. This was a weekend with over 440 attendees. It was devoted to the diversity of Penn and re-engaging that constituency, that had possibly not been engaged in 20 or 30 years. At Dr. Gutmann’s remarks on Saturday morning, a gentleman said that when he came to Penn, he was one of four African American students as an undergraduate entering that year. There was a woman who had not had any involvement with the University of Pennsylvania in 30 years, came to an Engaging Minds program in Washington, was absolutely amazed at the quality of the faculty, then she received an invitation to Homecoming Arts and Culture, she was very active in the arts and culture arena, came to that, found Penn a remarkable place. Then she received an invitation to Penn Spectrum. As she closed her comments she said, you now have one very engaged Penn alum. 

So, this was our inaugural weekend, we think it was incredibly successful, and we’ll be looking to continue this over the course of the coming years. 

Homecoming—last year, we started a new tradition of integrating both the arts and culture with Homecoming. The registration was up 48% year over year, the variety of programming that’s available on this weekend is truly spectacular without diminishing the importance of the football game—and we will beat Brown—but it has really brought together many different constituencies to experience all of what Penn has to offer.

Alumni Weekend—last year we went over 4,000 attendees, so the programming has really made an incredible difference.  Regionally, we have 129 clubs, 54 of those are outside the United States and clearly are one of the great involvement mechanisms for our alumni and secondary school committees around the world. 

Two weeks ago, Dr. Gutmann and a group of us were in Paris. We conducted a leadership meeting at which 18 volunteer leaders came from around Europe, Saudi Arabia, Northern Africa, to look at how we can improve the alumni relations and programming activities for the University of Pennsylvania on a global basis.  It was a wonderful event, and very informative for them and us.

We also had 300 people at the newly renovated Marshall Center, which is a spectacular facility after ten years of renovations.  We actually used the room where the Marshall Plan was launched and following that, we had a young alumni event. We had 75 attendees, and the one thing we found out when they came together, none of them knew more than one other person in the room, so it was a tremendous opportunity to engage our alumni with one another. 

On December 4, the Engaging Minds program will be in New York.  We are taking the first one overseas on January 22 at the British Museum. Dr. Gutmann, chair of the presidential Bioethics Commission, along with her vice-chair, Jim Wagner from Atlanta—will host a panel in Atlanta at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention discussing the work of the Commission.  Additionally, we will host 5 Excellence to Eminence programs around the country, as well as going to Asia, including Beijing, Taipei and Seoul, Korea. With that, Dr. Gutmann, I conclude my report. 








Almanac - October 26, 2010, Volume 57, No. 09