Harvard Shattered Its Record with $9.6 Billion in Fundraising

Things are finally looking up for Harvard.

Harvard University along the Charles River

Wow look at Harvard go.

The renowned university on Thursday announced that it received a record $9.6 billion—an unfathomably large amount of money, the power of which neither you nor I will ever know—in its latest round of fundraising.

That number far exceeded a $6.5 billion projection for its five-year capital campaign, by, you know, several billion dollars. Stanford set the previous record of $6.2 billion in 2012.

All the money came from 153,000 households over the five-year campaign, says The Harvard Crimson, which reported on the announcement. Harvard set a record when the total hit $7 billion in 2016, with two years left to go.

One donor’s generosity also set a record. A gift of $400 million to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from investor John A. Paulson was the university’s biggest of all time. For that, they renamed the school after him.

As you probably have heard, Harvard’s gigantic endowment are in the news once again this week. Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who is running for governor against incumbent Charlie Baker, a Republican, has proposed levying a new tax on endowments over $1 billion. By siphoning some of the funds from Harvard, MIT, and a handful of other schools, he has said, it could fund new progressive programs in the state including early childhood care. But the plan has come under fire by Baker and received some non-stellar reviews even from fellow Democrats.

Gonzalez’s plan was unveiled amid another effort to take some of all that money away: the Trump administration’s 1.4 percent tax on returns from large endowments.