Emory: $4 billion fundraising drive to support scholarships, research

Emory University President Gregory Fenves speaks at a lectern in front of an image of some of its medical students at a program on Oct. 20, 2021 to kick off the public phase of its $4 billion fundraising campaign. (Eric Stirgus/eric.stirgus@ajc.com.)
Caption
Emory University President Gregory Fenves speaks at a lectern in front of an image of some of its medical students at a program on Oct. 20, 2021 to kick off the public phase of its $4 billion fundraising campaign. (Eric Stirgus/eric.stirgus@ajc.com.)

Emory University has kicked off the second phase of a $4 billion fundraising campaign to fund scholarships for first-generation students, conduct more research and hire more top-flight faculty.

Officials say the fundraising goal, perhaps the largest ever by a Georgia college or university, is “a movement to radically rethink and reshape the future.”

“I want this campaign to reveal who we truly are at Emory, and what we can contribute so that we can reach new heights,” Emory University President Gregory Fenves told an audience at a reception on its Druid Hills campus Wednesday. “If we boldly invest in student flourishing, faculty eminence and research excellence, Emory will lead like never before.”

Caption
People wear face coverings while navigating the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

People wear face coverings while navigating the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Caption
People wear face coverings while navigating the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Emory has already raised $2.6 billion through the leadership phase of the effort over the last four years. It’s hoping to raise the remaining amount over the next four years through its community phase.

Emory is Georgia’s largest private university, with about 15,000 students. It’s consistently ranked among the nation’s top academic universities, training by its own estimate roughly one-quarter of Georgia’s physicians. Its endowment — money donated to a university to support its projects or scholarships — about $8 billion, is the second-largest in the South, according to one report.

The university has been at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research, yet officials there believe the school can do more research that results in breakthroughs on cancer and the effects of brain trauma.

It also wants to increase access to lower-income, high-achieving students. Emory costs more than $70,000 to attend annually for undergraduate students, the most expensive university in Georgia. Thirty percent of its undergraduate students borrowed federal student loans last school year, federal data shows. Just 20% of its students last year came from what Emory describes on its website as historically underrepresented groups.

Additionally, Emory wants to hire more acclaimed professors. Fenves, who became Emory’s president last year, told the audience that its faculty endowments are too few and “woefully underfunded.” He wants to double the number of faculty endowments to 154.

Emory is calling its effort 2O36, emphasizing the “O” as the focal point. They say the O represents an open and expansive future. The university was founded in 1836.

Caption
Emory University held a reception on Oct. 20, 2021 on its main campus to kick off the public portion of its $4 billion fundraising campaign. The university had several domes at the reception where guests could learn more about the fundraising effort and share their own vision for the school. (Eric Stirgus/eric.stirgus@ajc.com)

Emory University held a reception on Oct. 20, 2021 on its main campus to kick off the public portion of its $4 billion fundraising campaign. The university had several domes at the reception where guests could learn more about the fundraising effort and share their own vision for the school. (Eric Stirgus/eric.stirgus@ajc.com)
Caption
Emory University held a reception on Oct. 20, 2021 on its main campus to kick off the public portion of its $4 billion fundraising campaign. The university had several domes at the reception where guests could learn more about the fundraising effort and share their own vision for the school. (Eric Stirgus/eric.stirgus@ajc.com)

Attendees at Wednesday’s event were encouraged to explore five, white domes the size of giant tents to learn more about the plan. One dome allowed guests to write their vision for Emory on a tablet and watch it float near the top of the dome.

“2O36 is about investing in people – our students, faculty and researchers – and how they will transform the world,” said Bob Goddard, chair of Emory’s Board of Trustees.

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks