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Winter 2001

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On Campus



Alumni Affairs
and Development

Class Notes



Senior donors help a junior
           ·and around it goes

     It was awesome!” says Drea Brooks ’01, recounting the day she learned she was the senior chosen to receive a scholarship given by the just-departing seniors of ’00. “It was a huge honor.” So huge, in fact, that Brooks volunteered to lead the senior gift campaign in her senior year.

Cat Tai ’01 is working with Drea Brooks ’01, the first recipient of a senior-class scholarship, to carry the tradition forward.

     It all started with senior gift chairs Elizabeth McCann ’00 and Rebecca Freedman ’00, who were inspired by the annual fund’s senior associate director Adele Einhorn ’80 to direct their campaign toward a particular, and particularly inspiring, cause. They decided on an ambitious plan to leave a scholarship behind for a member of the next Skidmore class. Einhorn says, “Everyone knows how many students rely on financial aid. When they thought of what Skidmore would be like without those people, they wanted to strengthen that aid.”

     McCann says, “A campus bench or tree may be a more visible or durable gift,” but the scholarship felt “much more meaningful, especially since what we gave to Skidmore was the beginning of a potentially long-lasting tradition.” Her classmates evidently agreed: the ’00 campaign attracted an impressive 79 percent of the class, well ahead of most previous senior giving. Of course, even at 79 percent, they knew they couldn’t raise the $10,000 needed to fund a scholarship. So they redoubled their ingenuity.

     At a trustees meeting on campus, McCann and Freedman made a challenge-grant proposal: if they could reach 75 percent participation, would a trustee designate his or her gift that year to making up the difference in the dollar amount to reach $10,000? In a flash the senior gift drive became a “presidents’ challenge,” as alumni board president Beverly Harrison Miller ’67 and college president Jamienne S. Studley promised to fulfill the seniors’ wishes. With that promise and the now truly achievable goal of providing a substantial scholarship to a fellow student, the campaign became a rollicking success and blew right by its goal.

     The graduating class proudly presented its gift to the college at Commencement 2000, and over the summer the recipient was selected according to financial need, academic merit, and community service. At that point, Drea Brooks says, “I didn’t really identify with the idea of a class gift at all—until I got the scholarship.” As the senior donors had also found, “It’s so much more personal than some other gifts,” she says.

     Now the history major and business minor (with interests in the yearbook, residence-hall leadership, and the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society) has joined with co-chair Catherine Tai ’01 to carry on the new tradition. This year’s goal is to match or beat last year’s 79 percent participation, so the two gift chairs are busy recruiting lots of volunteers to invite all their classmates on board. And soon they’ll be seeking a matching gift to help them raise the full $10,000. “It’s fun,” says Brooks, who seems calm and confident despite her ambitious goals.

     Stay tuned: the class will have an announcement at Commencement ’01. —SR

© 2001 Skidmore College