Notre Dame surpasses $1.5 billion “Spirit” campaign goal

Author: Dennis Brown

Spirit campaign logo/Development

The University of Notre Dame has surpassed the $1.5 billion goal of the “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign more than two years ahead of schedule, raising $1.54 billion in gifts and pledges as of June 22.

The largest fund-raising effort in the history of Catholic higher education, “Spirit” was launched publicly May 5, 2007, and will end June 30, 2011. The most comprehensive campaign in Notre Dame’s history, “Spirit” is structured to provide significant financial support to four primary pillars of the University’s life: the undergraduate educational experience, research and graduate studies, diversity and international studies, and Catholic intellectual life.

While the overall goal has been met, several important objectives of the campaign remain critical priorities of the University, including financial aid at all levels, endowed faculty chairs, the libraries, undergraduate research and essential capital projects.

“We are humbled by the generosity of those who have contributed to the success of the ‘Spirit’ campaign,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “Our challenge now is to build upon this success to fully fund all of the priorities. In doing so, we can advance our vision to remain fully committed to our Catholic identity, provide an exceptional undergraduate experience, and become one of the nation’s pre-eminent research universities.”

The “Spirit” campaign is chaired by John “Jay” Jordan II, a member of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees and a 1969 alumnus, who said: “On behalf of everyone associated with the ‘Spirit’ campaign, I want to thank all who have supported this fund-raising effort and, ultimately, the aspirations of this University. Every gift counts, and all are adding up to make Notre Dame even stronger going forward.”

Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations, said that it is especially gratifying to have “crossed this pivotal hurdle – the overall goal – in this difficult economic environment. It is a true testimony to the Notre Dame family to surpass the goal at this time.”

He added, however, that there is still much to be done.

“Among the priorities that remain underfunded is financial aid, which is the primary goal of the campaign,” Nanni said. “Encouraging support of scholarships and fellowships remains paramount as the affordability of a higher education has become even more challenging with the recent economic decline.”

Priorities of the campaign were identified in a comprehensive strategic planning process conducted from 2001 to 2003, which included administrators, faculty, students and staff, and resulted in a document titled “Fulfilling the Promise.”

“How grateful we are that this, the University’s seventh such fund-raising campaign, has been embraced so loyally, thoughtfully and generously by our alumni, parents and friends,” said Daniel G. Reagan, associate vice president for University Relations and executive director for principal gifts and campaign administration. “Their support has been outstanding, to say the least.”

The “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign is subtitled “Embracing the Life of the Mind, the Wisdom of the Heart.” The University’s most recent campaign, “Generations: A Campaign for the Notre Dame Student,” from 1994 to 2000, began with a goal of $767 million and raised $1.061 billion. Other previous campaigns and their fund-raising totals are:

• “A Strategic Moment” (1985 to 1990) – $463 million
• “Campaign for Notre Dame” (1975 to 1981) – $180.5 million
• “Summa” (1966 to 1972) – $62.5 million
• “Challenge II” (1963 to 1966) – $22 million
• “Challenge I” (1960 to 1963) – $24.6 million

More information on the campaign is available at