Stony Brook University met and exceeded its capital campaign goal, raising $630.7 million over the last seven years, the university announced this week.
“We aimed high and we achieved even higher,” said Richard Gelfond, chair of the Stony Brook Foundation Board and CEO of IMAX Corp.
The university originally set the “daunting” goal of $600 million — more than any fundraising campaign in the history of the 64-campus SUNY system, said Gelfond, a 1976 Stony Brook graduate. “But the response has been terrific.”
A total of 47,961 donors, including friends, alumni, foundations and corporations contributed to “The Campaign for Stony Brook,” which is led by the university’s foundation, according to a news release.
“Every penny counts,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said, adding that the extra nearly $31 million “adds to the aggregate impact of the campaign.”
The nearly 26,000-student university has received more than 80 percent of the campaign dollars to date.
The investment has allowed Stony Brook, which employs more than 15,000 people, to add 44 endowed chairs and professorships across campus, according to the release. Previously the university had only 11 endowed faculty positions.
Of the $630.7 million, more than $52 million was donated for financial aid — $40.3 million for current scholarships and fellowships, and $12.3 million for future endowments, according to the release.
A total of $125.9 million will be invested in facilities and campus life including $80 million for the new Medical and Research Translation [MART] and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital buildings slated to open this fall, according to the release.
A total of $209.1 million will support research and create and support academic centers of excellence, including the Bahl Center for Metabolomics and Imaging, the Institute for Advanced Computational Science, the Lourie Center for Pediatric MS and the Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research, according to the release.
“Philanthropy, and the generosity of our donors, provides the margin of excellence for an R1, AAU public research university like Stony Brook, during a time when state support is waning and more and more students are seeking access to excellence,” Stanley said.
State support for the public university system has been relatively flat in recent years, while tuition has increased only slightly, he said. “Public and privates are relying more on philanthropy at this point in time.”
At the same time, the cost of research and recruiting top faculty from around the world has gone up, Gelfond said. “If you really want to be a great university, you have to have the funding to compete on a global basis. I think without the private philanthropy that couldn’t have happened.”
The university’s previous comprehensive campaign concluded in 2009, having raised $361.7 million, according to the release.
Both Gelfond and Stanley largely attributed the recent campaign’s success to momentum gained from the $150 million gift from the Simons Foundation and former Math Department chair James Simons and his wife, Marilyn, in fall 2011. James Simons, a billionaire, in the ‘80s founded the East-Setauket-based Renaissance Technologies, an investment company incubated at Stony Brook. The gift inspired 80 of his colleagues to donate more than $127.4 million, according to the release.
“It’s been a record-breaking campaign on a number of fronts and we’re very proud,” Stanley said. “The better the university is, the better the kinds of outputs we’re going to have.This philanthropy really elevates what we do.”
The medical research, the children’s hospital, “all these things come together to really improve life in the region,” he said.