Feb. 16, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 12

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    Campaign for Next Century goal raised to $650 million

    The Board of Trustees has voted to increase the goal of the University's Campaign for the Next Century to $650 million from $500 million and has named Harvey Plotnick to succeed B. Kenneth West as chairman of the campaign.

    The new goal is by far the largest in the University's history, and it reflects the record-breaking success achieved in the first three and one-half years of the five-year campaign. As of Dec. 31, the campaign had raised $455 million. The University expects to raise the additional $150 million without extending the duration of the campaign.

    "Something quite remarkable is happening," said President Sonnenschein. "The unsurpassed quality of the scholars and students here is being matched by the generosity of our friends. This proves that our alumni and donors in Chicago and beyond are committed to energetically supporting the University's world-renowned scholarship and teaching.

    "The Trustees have responded to that generosity and enthusiasm with optimism by promising to reach even higher -- to raise another $195 million in the next 16 months," Sonnenschein added. "Their commitment assures me that this great university will surely become still greater in the years ahead.

    "Harvey Plotnick will build on our success in strengthening Chicago for the next century," Sonnenschein continued. "And we owe Ken West a great debt of gratitude for his leadership of this historic effort."

    Sonnenschein said the campaign's progress will strengthen the University's long-term fiscal health.

    "The new goal is possible because of the enthusiasm and generosity of our alumni and volunteers," he said. "It is a necessary part of securing a bright future for the University. The campaign's success will allow us to increase the endowment and improve facilities, both of which will pay dividends for many years."

    Plotnick said the campaign will now focus on three areas critical to the University's future: endowed support for faculty positions, endowed support for student fellowships and scholarships, and funds for the construction of a new athletic complex.

    "The campaign so far has brought in wonderful support for Chicago," Plotnick said. "But those of us who care about the work of the University must raise more funds for the fundamental objectives of the campaign -- endowment for faculty support and student aid, and funds to make the campus a more attractive, and thus more productive, place to live and work.

    "I am very pleased that the Trustees have unanimously voted to increase the campaign's goal, and I am proud that they have personally committed themselves to seeing that we achieve it.

    "These priorities all grow out of the same overriding concern: the University's people," Plotnick added. "This University has always attracted the best faculty and provided for the most promising students. We must provide the resources they need to excel to the limit of their substantial abilities."

    Each year of the campaign, donations to the University have risen higher, with last year's gifts surpassing $100 million for the first time in the University's history. Most of the fundraising support has come from individual donors, who have donated more than $275 million through the campaign. More than $62 million of that total has been given by Trustees of the University.

    The largest gifts to the campaign have come from the Richard Duchossois family, Mr. and Mrs. Jules F. Knapp and Irving B. Harris.

    Launched during the University's Centennial celebration in 1991, the campaign is scheduled to run through June 30, 1996.

    Plotnick received his A.B. in English literature from the University in 1963. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1994. He heads the board's Development Committee, serves as chairman of the Visiting Committee on the College & Student Activities and is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors. He and his wife endowed the Elizabeth and Harvey Plotnick Scholarship fund for students who finance their education largely on their own.

    Plotnick was president and chief executive officer of Contemporary Books Inc., a publisher of nonfiction trade books, from 1967 to 1994. Under Plotnick's leadership, the company became one of the nation's largest publishers of adult basic-education instructional materials. The company was acquired by the Tribune Company in 1993.

    West, chairman of Harris Bankcorp Inc., headed the five-year campaign since its beginning in October 1991. West, who received his M.B.A. from the University in 1960, was Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1988. He will continue to serve as a Trustee of the University.