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November 10, 2005

Capital campaign totals ahead of projections

Pitt has raised 85 percent of its $1 billion fundraising campaign goal two months ahead of its target date.

Albert Novak, vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement, reported Oct. 28 to the Board of Trustees that the “Discover a World of Possibilities” campaign had raised $850 million in pledges. Of that, $714 million is cash received. Pitt hopes to raise $1 billion by June 30, 2007.

Novak told trustees that the University had a record fundraising year in fiscal year 2005, garnering $124 million in pledges with $103 million of that in actual cash collected. Other highlights of the eight-year-old campaign include attracting more than 105,000 individual donors, including more than 63,000 alumni.

In FY05, Pitt raised the minimum price tag for endowing a faculty chair from $1.5 million to $2 million, Novak said. Despite that, the number of endowed faculty chairs rose from 42 in 1997 to 94, he said.

Trustees also heard good news on the University’s endowment from Pitt’s treasurer. Amy K. Marsh reported that the endowment had more than tripled in the past 10 years from just under $500 million to $1.6 billion, making Pitt one of 47 higher education institutions nationally with endowments over $1 billion.

Harvard’s endowment of $22.1 billion is almost $10 billion more than nearest rival Yale, according to 2004 figures, the latest available. Among public universities, the University of Texas state system leads with $10.3 billion.

Pitt’s endowment ranks 8th among 227 publics and 31st nationally among 741 total institutions, Marsh said.

Pitt’s first endowment gift dates back to 1864, when $22,000 was earmarked for a faculty chair in the sciences. That initial endowment gift now is worth $546,000, Marsh said.

The University’s endowment investment policy “seeks to balance two conflicting objectives: to retain the value of the endowment in real dollar terms, and to spend enough to have a meaningful effect,” Marsh said. “The goal is to generate a return on investment in excess of spending and inflation.”

The policy, adopted by trustees in 1996, calls for Pitt to annually spend 4.25 percent of the endowment’s average market value during the preceding three years, Marsh said. That money is distributed primarily to academic units.

In other developments:

• The trustees held a moment of silence for two former trustees who had died since the board’s June meeting: Edna Chappelle McKenzie, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in history at Pitt, served as a commonwealth trustee 1987-1991, and August Wilson, famed playwright and Pittsburgh native, was a term trustee 1992-1995.

• The trustees voted to accept the FY05 independent audited financial statements and the audit report of the commonwealth’s auditor general.

Both reports were approved by the trustees audit committee on Oct. 14.

That committee also voted to retain Deloitte & Touche LLP as the University’s independent auditors. (See related story.)

• Board of Trustees meetings are scheduled for Feb. 24 and June 23.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 38 Issue 6

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