Fitts’ fundraising campaign will benefit students, align endowment with peers’

Emily Carmichael, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion piece, and does not reflect the views of the Tulane Hullabaloo

The Capital Campaign, President Michael Fitts’ billion dollar fundraising campaign that will be announced sometime in the coming months, will be a positive force for Tulane community, especially students.

The money raised by the campaign will bring about changes that Tulane has been waiting to see. Fitts said he plans to expand financial aid, improve the middle part of campus and increase interdisciplinary collaboration in a way that will enhance teaching, learning, research and community service. This includes building new on-campus housing, a new building for the Newcomb College Institute and, finally, a new dining hall to replace Bruff Commons.

Tulane’s endowment of $1.184 billion lacks compared to that of peer institutions such as Emory University, Washington University in St. Louis and Duke University, all of which have endowments of around $6 billion. A large endowment gives a university more money to spend on each student. That means more financial aid, more access to resources and more freedom for the university to improve itself in ways that benefit the student body. The money brought in from the Capital Campaign will increase Tulane’s endowment, and help it compete in a competitive academic environment.

Fitts has already earned his stripes as a fundraiser. During his time as dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Fitts raised a record $180 million in six years. With this money, he expanded Penn Law’s faculty by 40 percent, revamped the curriculum, expanded financial aid and renovated the campus. In an exit interview at Penn Law, President Fitts said he found fundraising rewarding because it allowed him to connect with the Penn Law community and develop the school. He can bring this same passion and success to Tulane. 

Some students have raised concerns over the Capital Campaign. They want the university to spend their tuition money more effectively before asking for more. Fitts recently hired the Huron Education consulting firm to do just that. With the help of Huron, Fitts hopes to reduce Tulane’s annual operating cash deficit of $15 to 20 million and create a more effective budgeting system. 

Tulane already counts itself among the world’s top academic institutions, but it cannot rest on its laurels. As a university, it must constantly adapt to meet the changing demands of both its students and the world as a whole. The Capital Campaign will provide Tulane with the resources to meet this challenge.

Emily Carmichael is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]