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Alumni job network expands SkidBiz is on the grow
Best-ever year in giving Zankel and other gifts send giving through the roof
Equestrians jump for joy and philanthropy Skidmore Saratoga horse show makes it mark
Club connection Philly, D.C., Boston
Polo gala charms donors Palamountain benefit brings in scholarship aid
Community builders Sussmans honored for gift of hospitality


Best-ever year in giving

The record $42 million gift from the estate of financier and former trustee Arthur Zankel made 2006–07 a transformative year for Skidmore, setting the stage for unprecedented achievements in giving (see chart below).

Last fall, when Skidmore publicly celebrated its $200 million “Creative Thought, Bold Promise” campaign with a kickoff event in New York City, President Philip Glotzbach announced that $121 million in gifts and pledges were already in hand. By the fiscal year’s end on May 31, the campaign stood at $133.8 million, the college had completed the most successful fundraising year in its history, and bulldozers had begun clearing the 18-acre site for the new music building to be named for Zankel. (The parent of two Skidmore sons, Kenny ’82 and Jimmy ’92, he was also a major benefactor of Carnegie Hall and Columbia University.)

Along with the Zankel family, 8,934 donors contributed to Skidmore’s record-breaking year. The overall cash total for the year soared to $56.9 million; the annual fund reached an all-time high, breaking the $6 million mark; and the number of donors at the Friends of the Presidents level totaled 1,113, an increase of 18 percent over last year. In addition, Friends of Skidmore Athletics and Friends of the Tang again raised important dollars for specific needs, and the college’s two major benefit events—the Palamountain Scholarship Benefit and the Skidmore Saratoga Classic Horse Show—raised more that $550,000 for financial aid.

Contributions of $28.4 million went to Skidmore’s endowment. Those gifts, together with the college’s successful investment record, boosted the endowment’s market value by more than $60 million, to $287.3 million as of May 31.

Among the donors were many who celebrated the human community of Skidmore with gifts that honored classmates or families while lending material support to students, staff, and faculty. Here are a few of their stories.

Michael Moore. The Zankel Music Center’s intimate, state-of-the-art recital hall will be named in memory of Elisabeth Luce Moore, thanks to a $2 million contribution by her son, former Skidmore faculty member Michael Moore. The 100-seat space will honor Elisabeth’s lifetime commitment to philanthropy and education. She retired in 1999 after serving sixty-three years as a founding board member of the Henry Luce Foundation, established by her brother, co-founder and editor in chief of Time magazine, to honor their father, Henry Winters Luce. “Michael has had a special and enduring relationship with Skidmore’s music department since the early 1980s,” says chair Tom Denny. “This recent contribution to the long-term well-being of music at Skidmore is profoundly meaningful and heartwarming. The Elisabeth Luce Moore Recital Hall will serve as a lasting tribute to the accomplishments of Michael’s mother, a gracious and distinguished leader.”

Judy Lyman Shipley ’57 and Walter Shipley. A $500,000 commitment from the Shipleys will endow a student-services program in drug and alcohol education and intervention. The Shipley Intervention and Research Fund is underwriting a new position in the counseling center, as well as a comprehensive prevention program aimed at specific at-risk populations. “Through the Shipleys’ generosity, we hope to better understand substance abuse on campus, implement early, aggressive intervention processes with students, and develop a parent education program,” says Pat Oles, dean of student affairs.

Virginia Gooch Puzak ’44. Ginny Puzak ’44 and Jean Poskanzer Rudnick ’44 (at left) were best friends since their student days. When Rudnick passed away this year, Puzak endowed a scholarship fund in memory of her friend and classmate, who was also a trustee emerita and longtime devoted friend of the college. The scholarship will be directed to a young woman studying theater—an apt tribute to theater-major Rudnick. Notes Don Blunk, Skidmore’s director of gift planning, “Ginny’s support of Skidmore extends beyond this scholarship, with gifts that also support the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.” He adds, “Her gift is a wonderful tribute to Jean; it speaks both to the close friendship they shared for many years and to their love and admiration for Skidmore.”

Educational Foundation of America. Skidmore recognizes its responsibility as an institutional citizen of the world to be a leader, in education and action, in promoting environmental sustainability. A $140,000 gift from the Educational Foundation of America will fund the hiring of a full-time sustainability coordinator to guide and strengthen these efforts all across campus. “This grant will allow us to build on our many accomplishments, advance our own sustainability agenda, and serve as a model for other institutions,” according to Karen Kellogg, professor and director of environmental studies.

Class of 2007. Dedicating their gift in the name of classmate Phillip Eckstein, who was killed in an accident in his junior year, the senior class more than doubled the amount raised in any previous senior-gift effort, collecting $9,166. They also enlisted a record-high 100 FOP-level donors. The class will award a student scholarship next year in honor of Phil Eckstein.

Senior Family Project. Chaired by Larry and Bev St. Clair (parents of Paige ’07), the senior-family gift effort raised a record $545,355 from families of students in the Class of 2007—up sharply from $422,000 last year. These gifts were put to use immediately in the annual fun and in establishing the Class of 2007 Phillip Eckstein Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship fund will continue in perpetuity, its income benefiting generations of students to come. Each family’s gift or pledge also made a lasting mark on campus: an engraved brick, with the student’s name on it, placed in the plaza near Case Center.

Reunion classes. The annual fund’s highest-ever total of $6.2 million was due in large part to the generosity of reunion-class members, who collectively donated a record $1.4 million. Several of them also reached impressive totals in overall giving, including the class of ’57 with $1.7 million, ’62 with $1.8 million, and ’67 with $1.9 million. The classes of ’62 and ’67 both established professorships with their gifts, to honor Skidmore’s faculty of teacher-scholars. Ray Giguere, professor of chemistry and co-curator of Molecules That Matter at the Tang Museum, holds the 1962 Term Professorship. Paty Rubio, Spanish professor and chair of foreign languages and literatures, has been named the 1967 Term Professor. These term professorships extend until the classes’ next reunions in five years. —DF