In anticipation of Emory University’s bicentennial anniversary, the school launched the 2O36 campaign on Oct. 22 as the second phase of a fundraising initiative designed to garner $4 billion by 2025. 

According to the campaign website, fundraising efforts will focus on student flourishing, faculty eminence and research excellence by “investing in people for the benefit of people.” The campaign aims to set aside $750 million for student support and $900 million for faculty support. 

The silent phase of the campaign, during which the University raised money without publicly announcing it, ran from Sept. 1, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2021. During the subsequent leadership phase, the University secured $2.6 billion from more than 75,000 individual donors. 

The campaign kickoff, which occurred at an event on the quad,  signified the beginning of the community phase. Moving forward, the University will seek to inform potential donors of the campaign’s goals and make the campaign’s progress available to the public. 

“The 2O36 Campaign is all about forging partnerships with great purpose and bold ambition to invest in our people who will shape our destiny while broadcasting the Emory story with pride,” University President Gregory L. Fenves said in a speech at the event.

The 2O36 Campaign aims to set aside $750 million for student support and $900 million for faculty support. (Ally Hom)

The campaign will focus on expanding and strengthening student opportunities by allocating funds to student support groups. The University will utilize the funds to provide ample resources and solid foundations for students who positively impact the Emory community. 

“​​It is philanthropy that brings these incredible students to Emory so they can flourish with a distinctive college education and experience that prepares them for a lifetime of accomplishment and service,” Fenves said.

Investment in endowed professorship, which is providing support and compensation for distinct professors, is also fundamental, the campaign website notes. To foster community and incentivize faculty to work for the University, the campaign will aim to strengthen the endowed professorships, which Fenves said “are too few and woefully underfunded,” by adding 154 new endowed professorships to the current 77. 

[Students] are immersed in a curriculum carefully cultivated by dedicated faculty,” said Dean of the Candler School of Theology Jan Love. “That deliberately engages the communities around us as educational laboratories in learning how to bring about positive change in individual lives and in society.” 

The 17 schools, student life, research and academic institutions at the University all have different campaign priorities. The Goizueta Business School wants to expand its entrepreneurship program, Emory College wants to increase need-based scholarships and the Rollins School of Public Health hopes to expand career-enhancing experiences. 

I want this campaign to reveal who we truly are at Emory and what we can contribute so that we can reach new heights,” Fenves said. “If we boldly invest in student flourishing, faculty eminence and research excellence, Emory will lead like never before.”

In the days before the event, some students claimed on social media that they believed the University used a portion of federal COVID-19 relief funds to finance the kickoff. Several chalked messages including “Sponsored by the Emory COVID Relief fund” on the quad during the campaign.

However, Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing Laura Diamond wrote in an Oct. 27 email to the Wheel that “no federal COVID-19 relief funds were used to support the 2O36 kick-off or any other aspect of the campaign.” Diamond also stated that no tuition or student fees were used to fund the event.

Diamond wrote the event was funded with money from the University’s general funds, drawing specifically from interest and earnings on cash and short-term investments. 

Emory received about $33 million total in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund awards through three phases. From July 1 through Sep. 30, 2021, Emory distributed $22 million directly to students with significant financial need, according to Diamond.

“The remaining $11 million was used to offset a small portion of the cost of keeping students and community safe during the pandemic, this includes COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation care of students, and other programs and services,” Diamond wrote.