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Rice U. Tops $1-Billion Fund-Raising Goal

Rice University announced on Monday that it had exceeded the $1-billion goal it set for its Centennial Campaign fund-raising effort. The institution has raised $1.081-billion since the campaign opened, in 2008.

About half of the total was raised during the campaign’s initial “quiet” phase, according to a news release from the university. It is the largest such campaign in its history.

The total is substantial given Rice’s relatively small enrollment (about 5,800 students over all). “We have a pretty small alumni group,” acknowledged James W. Crownover, chair of the university’s Board of Regents. He credited two fellow board members, Robert B. Tudor III and Susanne M. Glasscock, with helping spearhead efforts to raise funds, and he added that board members themselves had accounted for more than $200-million of the campaign total, though no single gift exceeded “about $30-million.”

The campaign was also notable in that several of the larger gifts were pledged toward support of the humanities rather than scientific research or a professional school. For example, it was announced last month that Milton and Laurie Boniuk had given the university $28.5-million to establish the Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, which will bear their names.

Mr. Crownover said that, unlike many campaigns in which big gifts are tied to donor wishes rather than institutional needs, much of the money raised for the Centennial Campaign “went to real programs and real brick and mortar. It really went to university priorities.”

The campaign’s total take may rise further before it ends officially, on June 30.

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