Auburn University’s fundraising campaign closes with record-breaking success

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Auburn University recently completed the most successful fundraising campaign in its history, raising more than $1.2 billion. The university announced this historic milestone during Saturday’s A-Day game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In addition to breaking university records, Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University, which concluded Dec. 31, 2017, surpassed previous state efforts, making Auburn the first university in Alabama to raise more than $1 billion in a fundraising campaign.

"Because This is Auburn was an extraordinary success on every level," said Jane DiFolco Parker, vice president for development and president of the Auburn University Foundation. "We reached our goal of $1 billion more than sixteen months early, and the Auburn Family continued their tremendous generosity through the end of the campaign. In addition to the tremendous philanthropic support we received, we were fortunate to have invaluable leadership from campaign co-chairs who shared a passionate belief in Auburn and in the importance of this campaign."

Campaign co-chairs included Joe ’71 and Gayle ’70 Forehand of Dallas; Raymond ’82 and Kathryn ’81 Harbert of Birmingham; Wayne ’68 and Cheryl ’68 Smith of Nashville; and Beth Thorne Stukes of Jasper, Ala.

One-third of the gifts and commitments made during the campaign were in support of the endowment — funds that are invested to create a perpetual source of income — which provides financial security and crucial resources for present and future expenditures.

"The growth of Auburn’s endowment during this campaign is important because it represents our willingness to invest in future generations," said Mike McLain ’72, chair of the Auburn University Foundation Board. "A strong endowment is a hallmark of a leading university."

Because This is Auburn supported four major areas — students, faculty, programs, and facilities. Gifts through the campaign created 2,108 new scholarships for students and 106 new endowed chairs and professorships for educators and researchers. Donors also gave more than $637 million to fund new programs and more than $203 million to transform the campus through new facilities and renovations.

"The generosity of the Auburn Family has been amazing to see," said Auburn University President Steven Leath. "Nowhere is this philanthropic spirit more evident than in the success of Because This is Auburn. We are positioned to become a world-class academic, research, and service university in the true spirit of our land-grant heritage."

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Timeline – April 1, 2008 – Dec., 31, 2017
Total amount raised — $1,202,549,730
Total number of gifts — 467,708
Total number of donors — 106,976
Percentage of first-time donors – 55%
Total number of gifts of $1 million or more — 207

Endowed gifts — 33.2%
Annual gifts — 66.8%
New scholarships — 2,108
New endowed professorships — 84
New endowed chairs — 22
Total square footage of new spaces – 1.2M

Total invested in new programs — $637,150,604 (130.5% of goal)
Total invested in facilities — $203,315,941 (114.1% of goal)
Total invested in students — $285,735,252 (113% of goal)
Total invested in faculty — $76,347,933 (94.5% of goal)

Totals for each college, school, and unit:

  • Alumni Affairs — $11,816,603 (Largest number of donors to any unit)
  • Auburn Athletics — $282,220,697 (Largest amount raised by any unit)
  • Auburn University Montgomery — $20,155,768 (Established 115 new scholarships)
  • College of Agriculture — $55,275,065 (Nearly $25 million in corporate support)
  • College of Architecture, Design and Construction — $28,553,686 (One-third of gifts designated for Rural Studio)
  • College Education — $20,793,919 ($3.7 million in gifts from parents)
  • College of Human Sciences — $42,522,270 (Received more than $4 million from first-time donors)
  • College of Liberal Arts — $30,912,974 (71% of gifts were from Auburn alumni)
  • College of Sciences and Mathematics — $33,592,014 (More than $9M in gifts from parents)
  • College of Veterinary Medicine — $87,992,544 (Received the most support from AU faculty and staff: $2.4M)
  • Division of Student Affairs — $7,683,937
  • Graduate School — $732,827 (Highest percentage over goal: 146.6%)
  • Harrison School of Pharmacy — $9,353,492 (Highest percentage of alumni donors: 23.4%)
  • Honors College — $2,320,724 (53% of gifts designated for the endowment)
  • Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art — $9,643,094 (More than $2.5M in gifts of art and collectibles)
  • Office of Inclusion and Diversity — $1,756,658 (34% of gifts were from foundations)
  • Raymond J. Harbert College of Business — $133,372,895 (5,902 HCOB graduates made first-time gifts to Auburn)
  • Samuel Ginn College of Engineering — $247,301,439 (Largest amount raised by an academic unit)
  • School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences — $25,449,812 (First unit to achieve its campaign goal, July, 2017)
  • School of Nursing — $18,451,781 (Highest percentage of gifts for faculty support: 23%)
  • University Libraries — $6,606,411 (More than $1.5M in gifts of books and historical artifacts)
  • University Outreach — $1,821,407 (99.7% of gifts were outright)
  • University Research — $15,425,404 ($9.75M to support research programs)


Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.