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October 16, 2015

U. of Wisconsin Kicks Off $3.2-Billion Capital Campaign

Under growing pressure to cut costs and find new revenue streams, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has launched a $3.2-billion fund drive, nearly double the size of its biggest previous campaign, the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports. School officials announced the kickoff Thursday of the public phase of the campaign, which will run through 2020.

The university's last capital campaign, completed in 2006, hit a $1.8-billion target. The new effort will focus largely on boosting student financial aid and faculty recruitment and retention. It comes as the university faces an $86-million structural deficit and, like many public universities, is squeezed by state budget cuts and pressure not to raise tuition amid a national student-loan crisis.

The university raised $1.2 billion during a two-and-a-half-year quiet phase, including a $100-million challenge gift from former Cisco Systems head John Morgridge and his wife, Tashia, to fund faculty-chair posts. The gift grew to $125 million when matching donations exceeded expectations.