Carnegie Mellon to ‘Make Possible’ $2b fundraising target

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Carnegie Mellon University is on track to hitting its US$2 billion fundraising target.

By U2B Staff 

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Carnegie Mellon University is halfway to achieving its US$2 billion target in a major fundraising campaign to accelerate the institution’s leadership in critical areas of technology and humanity.

Billed as the largest fundraising effort in its history, “Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University” expects to raise US$1 billion over the next five years to create resources and support educational initiatives in its seven colleges and schools.

“Our global society is at a pivotal moment when technology is transforming every aspect of how we live, work, communicate and play. The expertise that our world needs right now is exactly what Carnegie Mellon does so well,” President Farnam Jahanian said in a statement on the campaign.

“Make Possible is our community’s philanthropic investment to advance our education and research mission, empower our students, faculty and staff, and benefit the lives of people across the planet.”


Funds raised will go towards supporting four key areas: accelerating technological advancements to benefit humanity; fueling artistic expression and creative inquiry to shape modern culture; achieving breakthroughs in discovery by transforming how scientific inquiry is pursued; and fostering a dynamic experience that enables students to thrive throughout their lives.

It will build on the university’s momentum to advance work that addresses pressing issues facing modern society, such as sustainability, energy, transportation, health, data security, privacy and the challenge automation and artificial intelligence poses to humanity.

The university’s grand ambitions under “Make Possible” envisions a cross-collaborative approach to solving these challenges, bringing together teams of scientists, business leaders, artists, policymakers, humanists and engineers.

“Every day, I am inspired by the tremendous talents and ambitions of our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Jahanian said.

“This campaign will propel that work and amplify its impact to change the world.”


US$1 billion down, US$1 billion to go

Carnegie Mellon says the fundraising campaign has so far received the backing of more than 42,000 donors who raised over US$1 billion during its quiet phase. 

These donations have been used to fund collaborative research across disciplines at the university, as well as to support multiple initiatives for education, research and innovation.

“Support for Make Possible already has transformed Carnegie Mellon and its colleges, schools and programs in measurable ways,” the university said.

So far, donors have endowed 30 new faculty chairs across the institution, including deanships for the College of Engineering, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Mellon College of Science; and the headship of the School of Music. 

Last year, a US$50 million commitment from alumni Tod and Cindy Johnson became the largest gift to scholarships in university history. Apart from the duo, other supporters have funded 129 new scholarships and 94 new fellowships, helping the school provide life-changing education to a growing number of recipients.


Other gifts to the campaign have helped enhance the university’s offerings at its Pittsburgh campus, creating an environment even more conducive for the creative exchange of ideas and the realisation of new innovations.

One example is the 315,0000 square foot David A. Tepper Quadrangle building launched last year, made possible by a US$67 million lead gift from trustee and alumnus David A. Tepper and the support of 1,200 donors.

The largest building on campus, the Tepper Quad is the new home of the Tepper School of Business, a US$201 million state-of-the-art facility featuring an open design built to encourage cross-campus collaboration.

Within the Tepper Quad is the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, another facility made possible by donations to the university fundraising campaign from alumnus Jim Swartz and his wife Susan. 

Other gifts have contributed to the soon-to-open ANSYS Hall for simulation, prototyping and production; the TCS Hall, an interdisciplinary research facility; and the Scaife Hall for the College of Engineering, among others.

“Through our groundbreaking contributions to society, the Carnegie Mellon community is writing the story of the 21st century.

“This campaign and our exceptional supporters will make possible an enduring legacy that will last for generations and reach far beyond our campuses’ boundaries and into the world,” Jahanian said.