A stunning $1 billion was donated to Stanford this year -- a record-breaking sum, the university announced Wednesday.

The support came from more than 79,000 donors, another record.

"Their gifts keep Stanford accessible to the brightest students and ensure a breadth of opportunities -- inside and outside the classroom -- in world-class facilities for living and learning," said Stanford President John L. Hennessy, in a prepared statement.

The cash total of $1.035 billion in gift support for the university and the Stanford Hospital & Clinics for fiscal year 2011-12 was a 45.9 percent increase over the previous year's $709.4 million.

In recent years, Stanford has been the nation's most successful collegiate fundraiser, according to the New York-based Council for Aid To Education. Last year Stanford fundraising surpassed Harvard and Yale.

Despite the amount, gifts play a modest role in the day-to-day operations of a university, according to the Council's Anne Kaplan.

The bulk of Stanford's income comes from research grants, investments, health care services and tuition.

This fiscal year was lucrative because it included the final months of "The Stanford Challenge," a five-year fundraising campaign that raised $6.2 billion for a new model of research and teaching. It was the largest-ever campaign by a higher education institution.


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It also included the early stages of the "Campaign for Stanford Medicine," launched in May with $500 million in gifts and pledges for medical research and teaching that will include construction of a new Stanford hospital.

Another major gift came from Dorothy and Robert King, a 1960 graduate of the business school, who gave $150 million to create the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies. Of that gift, $100 million arrived this year.

The slow revival of the national economy has helped universities over the past two years, according to Council for Aid. Stanford's previous best was $911.2 million, during fiscal year 2005-2006.

Stanford's new fiscal year cash total reflects gifts and pledge payments received from Sept. 1, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012.

Of the new funds, about $70 million will be spent on students, $304 million on research programs, $62 million will support faculty and $102 million will be used to create and maintain buildings. About $62 million in "Annual Funds" can be used wherever there is the greatest need.

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098.