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SMC seniors collect funds for class gift

Liz Harter | Friday, December 7, 2007

The Saint Mary’s Senior Gift Campaign provides an opportunity for students to leave a legacy at Saint Mary’s, honor their experience at the College and give back to a community that has given much to them, said Heather Frey, assistant director of Saint Mary’s Annual Fund.

“Giving back to Saint Mary’s is embraced from the beginning of a student’s time on campus,” Frey said. “The Senior Gift Campaign is just a culmination of their four years of fundraising.”

Saint Mary’s Annual Fund, which provides scholarships and financial aid for current students, runs the Senior Gift Campaign. The gift, which may be a physical present or a donation to a student scholarship fund, is presented to the College during the annual Alumnae Luncheon in May.

Past gifts have included clocks, trees and benches. Many of the statues found around campus came from seniors who were students in the 1950s and 60s.

“The Class of 2007 gave money to support student scholarships and dedicated a room in Spes Unica [the new academic building set to open for the 2008-09 school year] in honor of their class,” Frey said.

While this year’s gift is still undetermined, 2008 Senior Gift chair Beth McKevitt said the class will follow traditions set by previous classes, but no decision will be made until spring.

“As of right now, I can promise that a sizable amount will be donated in the form of student scholarships, as is tradition,” McKevitt said.

The goal for the Senior Gift Campaign is 100 percent student participation.

“Our campaign is more focused on participation rates rather than the actual dollar amount raised at the end of the year,” McKevitt said. “In succeeding in reaching our goal of 100 percent participation among the senior class, we help improve the College’s status in national rankings in publications like US News & World Report and enhance our national reputation.”

Students begin raising money as freshmen through each class’s Quarters campaign, a smaller version of the Senior Gift Campaign. The campaigns are “basically the same thing,” Frey said, but the name changes for senior year.

Each class has its own campaign and account, Frey said. This ensures that the gift a student makes during any year at Saint Mary’s goes into her class’s own account and will be there as her senior class makes its gift decision.

“That is the biggest misunderstanding,” Frey said. “When you donate, you’re giving to your own class’s campaign.”

Both the Senior Gift and Quarters campaigns provide many opportunities to donate throughout the year, at such activities as “Karaoke Idol,” held in November.

“The end goal is the same, so the campaigns compromise and work together to plan events,” Frey said. “‘Idol’ was a joint effort because the amount of money raised is based on who gives. We reach out to all students and the money they give goes back to their own gift campaign.”

Currently, both campaigns are stationed outside the Noble Family Dining Hall every night before dinner inviting students to contribute to the College before the holiday season, McKevitt said. Students that donate to their own campaign will be entered into a raffle, with the winner announced at the annual Late Night Breakfast next Thursday.