Almost 20 per cent of Oxford’s collegiate alumni made gifts to their alma mater in 2013-14, helping the university to raise £750 million in three years.
Oxford said that this was the shortest period of time in which such an amount had been raised by a university in Europe, adding that this puts the university on track to meet its target of raising £3 billion.
Such multibillion-pound fundraising campaigns are more common in the US, where Ivy League universities can pull in $4 billion to $6 billion (£2.6 billion to £3.8 billion) in less than a decade.
In August 2004, Oxford launched its Oxford Thinking campaign to raise funds for its colleges and the central university. By October 2010, it had reached the £1 billion milestone, and its initial target of £1.25 billion was met soon afterwards. In response, the university upped its target to £3 billion.
The university has raised the second billion at a pace of £200 million a year, which it says is the fastest rate in UK higher education.
It will use the money to bolster teaching and research activity and to fund new scholarships, academic positions and infrastructure.
Almost 50,000 gifts have come from alumni, philanthropists and organisations. Among these are £75 million from the venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, writer Harriet Heyman, to create a scholarship scheme for undergraduate students from lower-income backgrounds and a £20 million pledge from the Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-shing to create a big data medical research centre.
Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of Oxford, said reaching £2 billion was an “outstanding achievement” for the university and the institution was “extremely grateful” for those who have made it possible.
“Their generosity is benefiting the entire Oxford collegiate community through increased financial support for students, ambitious programmes of academic research and high-quality new buildings and facilities,” he said.
“Oxford will need ever-greater financial freedom in support of our mission to foster academic excellence at the highest level for the greatest common good,” Professor Hamilton added.