The University of Iowa announced today the conclusion of what school leaders are saying is the largest fundraising campaign in its history.

U-I Foundation president and CEO Lynette Marshall spoke at a news conference revealing the results of the eight-year campaign.

“We surpassed our $1.7 billion comprehensive campaign goal by nearly 16 percent. And we are really grateful to those who helped make that happen,” Marshall says. “A total 272,543 individuals and organizations from all 50 states contributed to this campaign.” The campaign took in more than $1.975 billion.

“Fifty-seven percent of the donors were from the state of Iowa, so it’s an incredible show of support from our home state. We also received contributions from 76 countries,” Marshall says. The university says the donations will support undergraduate and graduate scholarship funds, new faculty chairs and professorships, support for vital research and academic programs, exceptional performing and visual arts and creative writing programs, and Hawkeye student-athletes and programs.

U-I President Bruce Harreld.

The campaign was called, “For Iowa. Forever More” and was started when Sally Mason was still the president of the school. Current U-I President Bruce Harreld acknowledged Mason’s role in the campaign. Harreld says Mason had vision and leadership throughout some tough times that included the flooding on campus and economic difficulties.

“I think all of us should just pause a moment and think about what’s happened as we’ve run this campaign,” Harreld says. Harreld says higher education faces many challenges and private donations are important to the school.

“As many of you know, that’s part of why I took this job. Public research institutions I believe are vital to our state, as well as national and maybe international future,” Harreld says. ” And in that context, I saw this morning that 39 states have received over the last fiscal year increased funding from their state. Unfortunately, we are not one of those.”

The U-I says donors helped make possible the construction or renovation of 13 facilities, including University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital; the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center and replacement facilities for Hancher Auditorium, the Voxman Music Building and the Visual Arts Building.