WPI Launches $500 Million “Beyond These Towers” Campaign

Largest-ever fundraising campaign focuses on affordability, access, research with a global impact, inclusivity, and innovation while shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
Media Contact
October 29, 2021

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) launched “Beyond These Towers” the largest fundraising campaign in its history—and the first to combine philanthropy and sponsored research—at a global virtual event on Thursday evening. College leaders announced they had already raised $354 million toward a $500 million goal.

The campaign, now entering its public phase, positions WPI to continue to transform lives, to turn knowledge into action to confront global challenges, and to revolutionize STEM through its distinctive and inclusive education, projects, and research. The campaign’s theme ‘Beyond These Towers’ is a nod to the towers of WPI’s first two buildings, enduring symbols of its guiding philosophy of theory and practice.

“Since WPI’s founding ‘theory and practice’ have led generations of students, faculty, and staff to apply their acquired skills, knowledge, and abilities to help co-create solutions to great problems around the world,” said WPI President Laurie A. Leshin. “Through this campaign we are reaffirming our commitment to lead with purpose, to stay true to our core, and to advance our highest aspirations that our work—as scientists and engineers, business leaders and humanists—has a meaningful impact on people, society, and the planet.”

President Leshin and George Oliver ’82, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls, WPI trustee, and National Campaign Chair, hosted the event. Attendees from around the world learned from WPI students, alumni, and faculty about the campaign’s goals to fund strategic initiatives in four areas: 

  • Tomorrow’s Leaders: $100 million for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to make a WPI education more accessible to a more diverse population of talented students; for academic and student life programs, including a planned WPI Center for Well-Being; to prepare graduates to navigate life’s challenges and thrive as they make a positive difference in the world—as students and as alumni.

  • Globally Engaged University: $50 million for The Global School and its initiatives, including WPI’s unique network of Global Project Centers; The Global Lab, a collaboratory space for students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars, post-docs, and partners to interact, imagine, and visualize ideas using state-of-the-art media studios; and programs to expand and deepen WPI’s capacity to create positive change, globally and locally.
  • World-changing Research: (in addition to securing $150 million in sponsored research) $100 million for graduate fellowships, endowed faculty chairs, graduate programs, and the dynamic research ecosystem that fuels WPI’s national and international reputation and is ultimately aimed at solving critical problems and improving lives.
  • Innovative and Inclusive Community: $100 million to support faculty, students, staff, and programs that ensure that our students graduate with entrepreneurial mindsets and learn how to create value; that our community is supported in its pursuit of excellence in all things; and that we are building an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming community where all members feel a strong sense of belonging and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. 

“These aspirations are high—but that is what this campaign is about: WPI has never been a community content with complacency, and 'good enough' has never been good enough for us; we have always sought better solutions, brighter futures, and expanded universes,” said Leshin. “As with any great discovery or technological advancement, we cannot do it alone, and we’re counting on the continued and intensified support of alumni, parents, friends, and partners to help advance the work of our students and faculty.”

“This campaign is about what philanthropy can do for our faculty and students, and what they will do for people all over the world,” said Oliver. “WPI faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates are developing such forward-thinking solutions to such difficult global problems—problems that impact all of us—and by supporting ‘Beyond These Towers’ we are helping ensure they can continue seeking those solutions and continue making an impact.”