The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara — a fundraising effort started by the campus in 2000 to attract donations — has brought in a total of $548 million dollars since its inception.

According to a press release, while the campaign’s funds for this year were down from the previous collection period due to the recession, the money raised exceeded the university’s expectations. Despite less money pouring in, the number of individual gifts significantly grew, with the university receiving 17,525 donations last year — a large increase over 2007-08.

The funding seeks to ensure the university maintains its goal of educational excellence while also providing immediate assistance to priority projects.

UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said in a press release that these philanthropic gifts contribute immeasurably to UCSB’s success, particularly during tight economic times.

“We are sincerely grateful to our devoted alumni, parents, friends and supporters for their steadfast generosity and inspirational commitment to the future excellence of the campus, especially in these challenging times,” Yang said.

The gifts funded a variety of programs and projects for the university. Three new endowed chairs were formed last year thanks to gifts nearing $2.4 million, for example, and $1 million was dedicated to the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies for research focusing on the potential difficulties climate change poses to individuals and democracy.