London: The University of Cambridge has exceeded its target of raising 1 billion pounds during the course of its 800th Anniversary Campaign, which amounts to the largest fundraising total announced by a European university.

Since the campaign started in 2005, the university has collected 1.17 billion pounds from alumni, friends and benefactors, a university release said.

Those who contributed included many former university students from India.

The varsity on Sunday announced it has raised more than USD 2.0 billion (1.17 billion pounds) during the course of its 800th Anniversary Campaign, the largest fundraising total ever announced by a European university.

This total places Cambridge in the top rank of fundraising institutions worldwide.

A total of 649 million pounds was raised by the university and 523 million pounds by its colleges.

The year 2010–11 was a record year for Cambridge with 135 million pounds raised.

These figures do not include more than 390 million pounds of legacy pledges, which will, in turn, create a significant pipeline of benefactions in the future, the university said.

"The Campaign has attracted broad support from alumni and friends globally and 54,000 alumni, more than a quarter of the total, have contributed at least once to a College and more than 8,000 have contributed at least once to the University", the release said.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said: "This is a remarkable achievement...The University and the Colleges are immensely grateful to all our donors who have given to this Campaign so generously. It is now the right time to declare that the 800th Campaign is complete. But, paraphrasing Churchill, this is simply 'the end of the beginning'".

According to him, the need for philanthropic funding to sustain Cambridge's position as one of the best universities in the world has never been greater.

"We are beginning, immediately, to prepare for a new, even more ambitious campaign," he said.

David Walker, co-chairman of the Campaign Board and senior advisor to Morgan Stanley International, said: "Our alumni and friends in the UK and internationally have responded with generosity and vision to the call of this Campaign.

They understand the need for sustained investment if teaching and research are to remain cornerstones of Cambridge's excellence and ability to seed the world with ideas."