Print This Issue

Council: State of the University

November 8, 2011, Volume 58, No. 11

The following presentation was given at the University Council meeting on October 26.

John Zeller

Thank you, Dr. Gutmann. It is indeed a pleasure to be able to give this update. I’m going to begin with something slightly different and that is, why do you even do a campaign beyond the obvious, which is to raise a lot more money?

Clearly you begin with raising necessary resources, but you’ll see as you go down through the elements, there are lots of underlying reasons to do a campaign that has very long lasting results on the institution.

Why Do a Campaign?

•   Raises necessary resources

•   Focuses institutional priorities

•   Presents structure for soliciting “stretch” gifts

•   Offers multiple opportunities for engaging volunteers

•   Brings excitement, purpose, and ownership to alumni, parents, and friends

•   Creates urgency

•   Develops shared goals and priorities that necessitate collaboration

The last thing is that your development and alumni relations program will be significantly better at the end of a campaign than it was in the beginning. For Penn we have had a very high performing operation for years, but I do think the campaign has allowed us to do some things. It really has improved our outreach and I will speak to that in just a minute. 

As Dr. Gutmann said, we have achieved the $3.5 billion number; we are actually closer to $3.52 billion now. I’ll talk a little bit about the impact of that number, but one of the things I do want to say is that Penn is very unique, and I would say extraordinary in the sense that of the $3.52 billion that has been committed, nearly $3 billion, about $2.967, we’ll hit $3 billion probably in the next three weeks, of cash has already been received. That’s 85% of the commitments, so this is not one of those campaigns where you wonder where the money is. We’ve actually received a large percentage of it, probably the highest in the country.  Of that, almost $1 billion has been added to the endowment against $1.6 plus billion in commitments. So our goals when we entered this campaign were extraordinary. Half of this campaign was to go to endowment; we are at 92%. $625 million was to go to faculty support; we are at about 85%, so there is work to be done there, same with undergraduate and graduate aid, but we have an extraordinary story to tell. 

So that is a segue into, yes, there are three elements to this campaign—the $3.5 billion, which we have achieved, the dollars raised for our priorities, which amounts to about $1.7 billion of that total. Left to raise is about $300 million worth of very key and strategic gifts that are represented across all of the schools and centers. Dean Kinane from the dental school would be more than happy to tell you that although he is enjoying great success in the Campaign, there are many things left to do, and that is the story for all of the schools and centers. And last, are our non-financial objectives. When we launched this campaign, we basically created this three-legged stool and this really distinguishes Penn from almost every other campaign in the country, where we were going to use the seven-year period for very strategic outreach and engagement of all of our alumni and friends around the world, really playing to the Penn Compact, engaging at the local, national and international level.

So what has been the impact of the Campaign? These are some key indicators of how we performed from a fundraising standpoint: before the Campaign launch and where we are through the first five years. Prior to the campaign launch in FY06, July 1 of 2005 was our silent phase, we were averaging about $48 million in faculty. That’s now moved up to $60 million. Undergraduate student financial aid, $24 million—that’s moved to almost $44 million. Graduate and professional aid, $23 million to $33 million. Capital from $38 million to $55 million—and these are averages on an annual basis. Endowment has gone from $127 million over that five-year average to $218 million yearly. So the impact of strategically focusing our energies on key priorities has really paid off remarkably.

You have heard Dr. Gutmann talk about the largest gift in Penn’s history from Raymond and Ruth Perelman, and our leadership giving as a whole, we look at our trustees and our overseers—our most dedicated volunteers—it amounts to almost $1.5 billion in terms of support, so clearly we are blessed with great engaged volunteers. Our annual performance in almost every priority is up as I’ve just reflected. We raised more money already than all our prior campaigns ever, put together, which I think is a great tribute to our deans, volunteers and staff. Almost 600 donors contributing $1 million or more, nearly 209,000 donors to this campaign so far—and it’s comprehensive and we have engaged people at every level.

So let me just quickly go through a few metrics related to why we are spending time on non-financial goals.

• Strengthen campus and regional activities that engage alumni, students, parents, and friends and provide increased access to Penn’s vast academic resources.

• Build on the success of alumni class and affinity group programming, creating new ways for alumni to connect with each other.

• Expand career networking opportunities for alumni and students.

• Grow the number of alumni who support Penn’s commitment to educational excellence through their annual gifts.

• Increase the number of individuals who create lasting legacies at Penn through their planned gifts and Harrison Society participation.

• Deepen student awareness and involvement in the full range of development and alumni relations activities.

Many institutions talk about non-financial goals, engaging their alumni—and obviously we have as well, but I think we have executed it flawlessly. 

Slide 1



So these are just some charts (see above) and it looks a little bit like spaghetti, so I apologize for that—but all you have to look at is the trajectory. These are our signature activities, homecoming, reunions, school reunions and reunion volunteers, all growing tremendously over the life of the campaign.

This is active Penn clubs (see below). Look at how the young alumni activities have gone up—this is the future. We have spent a great deal of time focusing on our young alums who have graduated within the last ten years. And for those of you who are students sitting around the table, we look forward to working with you as well.


Dr. Gutmann

By the way, if I could just interrupt for a moment, John. One of the ways we figured out, finally, in engaging young alumni is instead of having meetings over dinner, they start at 10 o’clock at a bar and go until 2. Hundreds of young alumni come out, isn’t that right? They love it, they get together. It is a great way of getting together after work. 

John Zeller

We have also learned, no snail mail, no email. It’s all done on Facebook, texting and Twitter.

Then we have focused specifically on identifying student leadership and working very closely with representatives of the students across the institution. That growth has been almost 300%, we couldn’t even put a chart together that would really reflect it. We have been just delighted with that.

The speakers are really more a function of timing, but the activities that we have with our faculty and showcasing them around the country and around the world has had a remarkable return as well. 


So let me just summarize, all you have to do is look at the trajectory. All of the activities are on the right-hand side (see below.) This is what the return is. We have a $3.5 billion result to date with 14 months left to go.


We have also had a remarkable success in our non-financial objectives:

Office Hours
Salon Series
Quaker Exchange
Penn Spectrum
Engaging Minds
Excellence to Eminence Tour
Penn To You
Penn Traditions
Penn Cares
Penn Quotient
Alumni Weekend

Homecoming & Arts
Penn Alumni Winter Meeting
GAN Clubs Conference
Penn Alumni Blog
Family Programs
Class Elections
Alumni Yellow Pages
TCPW Networking Receptions
Social Media
Gazette Circulation
Alumni Directory
Alumni Relations Group

So this is just a quick list of all the things we’ve put together over the course of the last five or six years. They have really been designed to reach out and engage alumni of all ages and around the world.

So what are the next 12-14 months? Well, it’s got to be a focus on those priorities, faculty support, undergraduate, graduate and professional aid and some of our key capital projects left to be raised. There is an urgency. We have 14 months. The clock is ticking, so we are focused on that. But at the same time it is very exciting. We are on a positive trajectory and our engagement has never been higher. I look forward to returning to this body and reporting on all the significant successes that we will enjoy in the next 14 months. 

When asked to elaborate on the priorities for which funds are still being raised, Mr. Zeller replied that there are four of them: faculty support, where $450 million of the $623 million goal has been raised; undergraduate financial aid with a goal of $350 million, which is almost at 90%; graduate aid, whose goal was $323 million; and capital projects: particularly the college house and the neural and behavioral sciences building.

Ed. Note: The portion of the State of the University given by Vice Provost for Faculty Lynn Lees pertaining to the Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence appeared in last week’s issue.

Almanac - November 8, 2011, Volume 58, No. 11