Stanford Challenge sets conclusion for Dec. 31

Oct. 31, 2011, 2:01 a.m.

The University recently confirmed that the five-year Stanford Challenge fundraising campaign will officially end on Dec. 31, with a final report and press release along with comments from President John Hennessy to be released in February 2012, according to University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin.

The purpose of the Challenge is to address societal problems through research initiatives funded by the program.

Stanford Challenge sets conclusion for Dec. 31
(SERENITY NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily)

“The Stanford Challenge is a set of initiatives aimed at seeking solutions to difficult problems facing the world and providing unparalleled educational opportunities for the next generation of global leaders,” said Rebecca Smith Vogel, assistant vice president in the Office of Development, in an email to The Daily.

The campaign set out with specific goals in human health, environment and sustainability, international initiative, multidisciplinary research, improving K-12 education, engaging the arts and creativity, reinventing graduate education and extending the renaissance in undergraduate education.

“Because of the complexity of the problems in these areas, it is not enough to approach them from the perspective of just one discipline,” Vogel said. “So, the Stanford Challenge has had at its core a reshaping of the way research and teaching happens, bringing in scholars from various disciplines to work together toward a common solution.”

The grand total goal at the outset of the campaign was $4 billion across these many categories. In addition, the original campaign goal for endowed scholarships tripled to $300 million in response to the economic crisis and the enhanced undergraduate financial aid program.

The Stanford Challenge has also funded many new facilities as one of its central goals in order to bring scholars together from various disciplines. The Knight Management Center, the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, the Huang Engineering Center, the Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building, which is a workspace for The Daily’s staff, the Munger Graduate Residence, the Neukom Building at the Stanford Law School, the Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, the Gunn SIEPR Building and the Bing Concert Hall, set to open in January 2013, were all built with partial funding raised by the Stanford Challenge.

The program has also raised resources for the University’s general fund.

“Giving like this provides a critical source of flexible support that can be used where it is most needed,” Vogel said. “In recent years, that’s meant to help meet the need for undergraduate financial aid.”

She also stated that there are not currently any plans for a similar campaign in the future.

“Fundraising was just a means to help accomplish this end,” she said.

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