Commencement Remarks: All School Gift
May 22, 2011
by Aaron Frazier Grober '11, Lucy Kathleen Richardson '11, and David Facher Iselin '11
Aaron Frazier Grober:
Thank you President Hill, good morning to everyone, and Happy Sesquicentennial!
In choosing our Senior Class Gift, our goal was to recognize and incorporate the momentous occasion of our sesquicentennial. We did this in two ways. First, we expanded the scope of the gift to include all four classes. Second, all the money raised from this gift is going to support Vassar’s Annual Fund, a fund that makes the entire Vassar experience possible by contributing to every area of the College. We felt that the most meaningful and most appreciated gift that we could give, would be the one that could go the furthest and support students today.
The senior class took advantage of a rare opportunity to change the face of the Annual Fund. For many years, supporting the College meant giving to Vassar’s Greatest Needs or designating your gift to support Athletics, Campus Landscaping, Faculty Salaries and Research, the Library, Residence Hall Refurbishment or Scholarships.
New this year, brought to you by the Class of 2011, is the opportunity to designate to sustainability. This is the first time in over 15 years that a new designation has been added to the Annual Fund. As a class, we have taken our passion for sustainability and put a lasting mark on the annual fund, an accomplishment we can continue to be proud of for the rest of our lives. This new designation is part of the legacy that our class will leave behind, and is something that we can continue to give to with pride, as well as any member of the Vassar community who is also passionate about sustainability. They will be able to designate to sustainability, now and forever.
Lucy Kathleen Richardson:
This year the President’s Advisory Council presented us with a unique challenge: if 1861 students -- the year of our founding -- contribute any amount to the Annual Fund, the PAC generously offered to make a $150,000 gift to our campaign.
And, that’s not all:
Additionally, an anonymous alumna agreed to support our newly created sustainability designation with a gift of $15,000 if 80% of the senior class participated.
So, how’d we do?
David Facher Iselin:
As of today, 516 students, 82 percent -- of the Senior Class has contributed to the 2011 All-School Gift. This means that we successfully met the anonymous alumna’s challenge and Vassar will be receiving $15,000 to be used for enhancing campus sustainability initiatives. Nice job, Class of 2011!
Additionally, 1,888 students, or 73% percent of the student body, has participated in the 2011 All School Gift; this is unprecedented. While we were certain we would get a $150,000 contribution, we learned this week that the PAC was so impressed by the students’ enthusiasm that they contributed an additional $121,000 for a grand total of $271,000 to the 2011 All-School Gift. Even more exciting is that this number is still growing. The PAC is pledged to continue fundraising until the end of the fiscal year. At this moment, I think it is appropriate to give thanks to the PAC. So please join us in giving a round of applause to the President’s Advisory Council.
In total, we raised over $300,000 for Vassar, including $14,000 from the general student body. This is the largest student-led fundraising effort in Vassar College’s 150-year history. This is something we should all be proud of. Congratulations Vassar!
Lucy Kathleen Richardson:
The scope of this gift was too large for just three people. We received an outpouring of support from so many people at the college. It was truly a joint effort. First, we’d like to thank the All-School Gift Committee, especially the other Class Gift Chairs: Ruby Cramer, Pam Vogel, Louise Dufresne, Aashim Usgaonkar, Natalie Hine and Michael Moore. Your support was vital to our success. Next, we’d like to thank Priscilla Weaver in the Office of Alumnae Affairs and Development for her tireless and constant efforts on our behalf. You were the glue that held us together. We love you, Priscilla! Also since this is the first time that all of our parents have been together in our four years, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. During our time here, 417 of our families have given $500,000 to the Annual Fund, so thank you. But most importantly, thank you to everyone in the audience who contributed to the All-School Gift. Without your generosity, we would not be where we are today. Vassar now has an extra $300,000 because we came together in support of this ambitious gift. We made history. Thanks again to everyone, and congratulations to the Class of 2011! We did it!