Performers and light shows filled Agganis Arena for Boston University’s celebration of the end of it’s seven-year fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Boston University, on Saturday. BU raised a total of $1,851,091,154 in donations over seven years, according to BU Today.
The event featured speakers, figure skaters and live music from both BU students and Boston community organizations. It opened with emcee McCaela Donovan, the assistant director of the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre, telling the audience about BU’s history and her own experience as a BU student.
Walter E. Fluker, a professor of ethical leadership at BU, explained that BU’s first president, William Fairfield Warren, had a strong belief in gender equality, making BU one of the first universities at the time to accept both men and women.
“[The alumni] stand for justice, they stand for the inherent worth and dignity of the individual,” Fluker said. “They stand as symbols of something at the heart of Boston University. From the outset, this has been what [School of Theology] Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore calls a justice bearing university.”
Fluker also mentioned several notable alumni, such as Alexander Graham Bell, Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
BU synchronized skating, ice hockey and figure skating clubs performed in between speakers. The figure skating club brought skating to the skies with aerial silks, while the ice hockey club skated out with flags bearing each of BU’s schools and colleges. The marching band and pep band also performed at the beginning and end of the event, wearing light-up firefighter hats.
Other community organizations lent their talents to the celebration. Sons of Serendip performed songs including “I Lived,” “You Raise Me Up” and “Somewhere Only We Know,” oftentimes as background music for skating performances. Inner Strength Gospel Choir also performed a medley.
The campaign aimed to raise $1 billion by 2017, but BU increased their goal to $1.5 billion in 2015 after generous donations, BU Today reports. In total, over 175,000 donors contributed, with Rajen Kilachand being the most generous.
The campaign money went towards new buildings, such as the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre, and Yawkey Center for Student Services. It also funded the opening of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, renaming the School of Management the Questrom School of Business, and building the Alan and Sherry Leventhal Center, among other advancements.
Olivia Holladay, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was excited about the contributions that the campaign made towards BU’s campus and resources.
“I think all of this money is going to go to a great cause,” Holladay said. “It just helps better everyone’s education and everyone’s work.”
Wenting Yu, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said she appreciated the effort put into the campaign celebration.
“I was so fascinated by the ice skating performances, and along with the celebration,” Yu said. “I also realize that this symbolizes the success of BU’s campaign, which I’m glad about.”
Charles McGinn, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he most enjoyed the performances from the pep band and figure skating club.
“I had no expectations coming in, and as a freshman, it was absolutely spectacular to see all the different kinds of talent that come to this school and come out of this school,” McGinn said. “It was amazing to understand what the culture is here, and immerse myself in the opportunities and possibilities and all the hard work that’s been put into this school.”