CHESTER Widener University has announced that its seven-year campaign has raised nearly $65 million in what the school called the most successful fund drive in its 193-year history.

When the so-called Taking the Lead campaign ended Tuesday, it had beaten its goal by $6 million, the school said.

"We accomplished our goals despite launching the campaign during one of the most dire financial crises in our nation's history," Linda S. Durant, senior vice president for university advancement, said in a news release.

Along with capital projects, Widener president James T. Harris III said, the uses of the money would include student aid. The school said it was creating 38 scholarships on the Chester campus and 19 scholarships for Widener's two law schools, Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg and Delaware Law School in Wilmington.

Harris said in a statement that the funds came from "more than 16,000 alumni, friends, students and university partners."

The university said that about 8,300 first-time donors made contributions.

The university has about 6,000 students. In addition to the Chester, Harrisburg, and Wilmington campuses, it also has one in Exton.

— Inquirer staff