This week, something remarkable happened. The Senior Class Gift for the Class of 2011 broke every record for a senior gift. Specifically, 1076 out of1361 seniors opted to give back to William and Mary prior to graduating. This number makes up 79% of the senior class, which is unprecedented. I serve as one of three co-chairs of the Gift for our class, and even though leading the gift has been the most time-consuming, frequently difficult thing I have done during my time at William and Mary, I know now that the pay-off (literally and figuratively) is worth much more than all the hard work we put in.
Our gift, from a numerical standpoint, is significant for reasons legion:
- In a period of only around six months, the senior class gift committee, through an aggressive outreach campaign, events, and sheer grit, managed to raise over $32,000 for the school.
- The $32k is made up primarily of $10 donations from individual seniors, proving that little gifts, in large numbers, really do add up.
- This was the first year a senior class gift accepted only gifts instead of pledges, meaning that the money we raised is in direct cash, not in pledged donations. The Class of 2011 managed to reach a level of giving that even the classes before us who accepted promises of gifts but not actual gifts themselves could not even reach. This is a huge success and a testament to the generosity of our class.
- The money we’re giving back goes back in the form of direct donations to everywhere around campus, including student activities, specific academic departments, financial aid, scholarships, sustainability fees, athletics, and other areas of pressing need. Students have the ability to designate where they’d like their gift to go, and give back to the things that have mattered most to them since they’ve been students here.
- We had huge numbers of leadership gifts, as well. Not only did students opt to give back $10, therefore, but more students than ever before chose to give back at the highest levels of the gift.
The Class of 2011 made a huge statement this week that we are, and will continue to forever be, stewards of this historic College. There is only one William and Mary, and the Class of 2011 has shown, two weeks prior to our graduation, that we have no intention of ever compromising the excellence of our alma mater. More than any amount of money raised, the fact that so many of my peers opted to put their own money where their mouths are in service of the College they love is telling. Few schools can boast of so many students contributing to the financial welfare of their university before even graduating.
I am proud to have been a member of this gift and I am proud to be a member of the Class of 2011. When Commencement comes in just 13 days, and the entire senior class walks over the senior walk, we’ll have one more thing to be tremendously proud of as we step over the highest percentage, inscribed next to our class year, in the history of the Gift.
Go Tribe, and Hark Upon Giving Back,