NEW YORK – On Friday, October 12, Columbia University launched The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, a $100 million initiative in support of “people, places, and programs.” To date, Columbia has raised more than $46 million toward the overall goal.

The kickoff, which came at a special ceremony in Low Memorial Library on the eve of Columbia’s Homecoming weekend, saw the announcement of the two leadership pledges made to The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: more than $10 million from University Trustees Chair Bill Campbell ’62CC and $5 million from Robert Kraft ’63CC. Campbell, the Chairman of the Board of Intuit, is a former football captain and head football coach at Columbia; Kraft, chairman of The Kraft Group and owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, played football for the Lions.

“The effort made by Columbia student-athletes enriches their own educational experiences even as it brings us closer as a university community,” said President Lee C. Bollinger. “This campaign aims to make participation in athletics as meaningful and successful as possible.”

“Columbia University is committed to excellence in all of its programs and departments, including athletics,” said Campbell. “My gift, like the campaign as a whole, is intended to help the athletics program provide the best possible experience for Columbians today and tomorrow.”

“I believe that the formula for success in any business requires strong leadership and teamwork,” Kraft said. “There is no better environment than Columbia University Athletics to teach those skills.”

M. Dianne Murphy, director of intercollegiate athletics and physical education, said: “The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence is about ensuring that we deliver winning teams and championship performances. We intend to win—and we are serious about being the best. Our athletics program is dedicated to quality and excellence in all that we do.”

Campaign priorities include:

• endowing coaching and administrative positions in order to recruit, develop, and retain outstanding coaches and administrators;

• investing in facilities, including a new sports center to be built at the Baker Field Athletics Complex; modernization of Marcellus Hartley Dodge Physical Fitness Center; and renovation or enhancement of existing facilities, including the football, baseball, and soccer fields, the tennis center and the boathouses; and

• creating endowments and unrestricted annual giving fund programs to support ongoing operations and fund innovative programs that enhance the student-athlete experience.

”We thank all our benefactors and major donors for their generosity,” Murphy said. “The Columbia Campaign for Athletics is about everybody coming forward to support the athletics program. Every gift counts.”

The Columbia Campaign for Athletics Leadership Committee is co-chaired by Campbell and Kraft and includes as members Andrew F. Barth ’83CC, Lisa Landau Carnoy ’89CC, Martin J. Cicco ’78CC, Geoffrey T. Grant ’82SEAS, Alfred G. Jackson ’67CC, Donald J. Jackson ’73CC, Jonathan S. Lavine ’88CC, Javier Loya '91CC, Philip L. Milstein ’71CC, Cheryl G. Milstein ’82BC, Richard M. Ruzika ’82CC, Charles W. Santoro ’82CC, Kyriakos Y. Tsakopoulos ’93CC, George L. Van Amson '74CC, Russell F. Warren ’62CC, Richard E. Witten ’75CC, and Helen Doyle Yeager ’85BC.

The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence
is part of The Columbia Campaign, a $4 billion University-wide effort launched in fall 2006 that is expected to conclude on December 31, 2011. More than $2.4 billion has been raised already.