Make Possible, Carnegie Mellon's new fundraising effort

Credit: Rebecca Enright/Art Editor Credit: Rebecca Enright/Art Editor

Make Possible, Carnegie Mellon’s nine-year, $2 billion fundraising project has just entered its public phase. The announcement came with a new website, and a video that featured faculty, staff, students, and trustees showcasing some of the projects and performances under development at the university.
The campaign, which began in the fiscal year 2016, has already raised over half of its goal from more than 42,000 supporters.

The Make Possible Campaign is structured around 4 pillars: “accelerating technological advancements to benefit humanity; fueling artistic expression and creative inquiry to shape modern culture; achieving breakthroughs in discovery by transforming how scientific inquiry is pursued; and fostering a dynamic experience that enables CMU students to thrive,” according to the press release.

The campaign will direct resources to each of the schools and colleges at Carnegie Mellon, which will help the university “tackle the challenges whose solutions lie at the nexus of technology and humanity,” said university president Farnham Jahanian in a letter about the campaign and in the accompanying video.

In an interview with The Tartan, Scott Mory, vice president for University Advancement, echoed this sentiment, stressing the “emphasis again on being at the nexus of technology and humanity, and how that really can encompass all parts of the university,” from the Tepper School of Business to the College of Fine Arts.

When asked about specific improvements students would see from this massive influx of capital, Mory said that students are “going to see some real improvements in the quality of life on campus,” with the campaign seeking to “improve facilities for health, wellness, and athletics.”

From a “$50 million dollar gift for undergraduate scholarships,” to “the launch of the Tartan scholars program,” to the installation of “a chair for the director of civic engagement to provide new resources for SLICE [Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement],” the campaign “will have a lot of direct impacts on student life, and of course, as an alum of the university, the increased reputation of the university, as it’s able to use these resources to advance its mission…will have a long term benefit for every alum of Carnegie Mellon,” Mory said.

The Make Possible campaign, in addition to endowing dean’s chairs and providing funds for undergraduate research, includes capital projects like the Tepper Quad and the Hazelwood-based Mill 19, a joint project between Carnegie Mellon’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative and the nonprofit Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing. According to an article from 90.5 WESA, Mill 19, a former steel mill, will be “a high-tech resource for manufacturers in the region,” testing new ways to automate manufacturing tasks.

Another project under the Make Possible umbrella is the Block Center for Technology and Society, which seeks to “[ensure] that the benefits of technological change are widely shared, opening new paths to prosperity for all,” by investigating the ways technologies like AI and automation can be used without concentrating the benefits in the hands of a few people, or negatively impacting those whose jobs are displaced due to automation.

The Make Possible Campaign’s section on Technology and Humanity says Carnegie Mellon is “changing the way we live, work and connect to one another for good.” As Jahanian puts it, “this is our moment. If we are very intentional, if we are unapologetically bold, and if we commit to taking risks, Carnegie Mellon will take the lead in writing the story of this century... I’m excited to see what we’ll make possible, together.”