Class of 2012 Raises the Bar for Senior Class Gift

In the spring of 2013, a tree will be planted outside of The Mac Mahon Student Center to commemorate the Class of 2012. Not only will this tree beautify the campus, it will also serve as a tangible reminder of their generosity to Saint Peter’s College. The Class of 2012 was able to achieve something no other class has done in nearly a decade: they surpassed the goal set for the Senior Class Gift this year by more than $1,000, demonstrating that a Jesuit education truly fosters men and women for others.

The Senior Class Gift is a chance for the new graduates to show their support for the College and express their gratitude to alma mater.  This year, the campaign began in April, and seniors were asked to make a gift of $12 for their class year – with the ultimate goal of raising $2,012 – to the component of the College that had the most impact on them throughout their educational experience. Athletics, academics and scholarships were just some of the initiatives that compelled 210 seniors to contribute to the Senior Class Gift. Through the Class of 2012’s support, a total of $3,183.12 was raised and presented to College President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., at the John J. Delaney ’50 Alumni Reception last month.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Class of 2012,” said Jamie M. Bredehoft, director of annual giving at Saint Peter’s College, who helped to coordinate the Senior Class Gift effort. “These students stepped up and proved the culture of philanthropy is alive and well at Saint Peter’s College. They did something incredible because they understand the importance of giving back to a place they have grown to love.”

Several groups were involved in this extraordinary effort: senior students, the College’s Office of Alumni Relations and Senior Class Gift Advancement Ambassadors. The latter played a significant part in the effort. These Advancement Ambassadors – comprised of 2012 graduates Kapil Bastola, Kirsten Coronado, Alexandrea Keddie, Shishir Khadka, Allyson Pullis and Amelia Rotondo – were nominated by campus community leaders.

The Advancement Ambassadors worked diligently to get the word out to their peers about the Senior Class Gift and to garner contributions. Seniors were able to give at the Graduation Salute and weekly at Jazzman’s Café and in the Quad in April, as well as through the Senior Class Gift online giving site. Although seniors were asked to give $12, gifts of every size were accepted and counted toward the goal of $2,012, with individual contributions ranging from $2 all the way up to $101.

As an added incentive for seniors to give, Anne E. Butler ’69 – an alumna that graduated with a B.S. in history and minor in English/secondary education – vowed to match the donation amount, this year up to $500. It’s an initiative she has undertaken for the past several years for a variety of reasons: retired from a 40 year career in the educational system, she understands the importance of a quality education such as the one provided by Saint Peter’s; to encourage students to contribute to the Senior Class Gift; to entice young alumni to give back to the College in the future; and to assist the seniors financially in meeting the gift goal.

“Most of them are short on money,” Butler said. “They’re at the end of college, end of the school year, and have Senior Week activities. So there’s not a dime left. Matching their gift is a way to encourage them. But they had to do their part. It’s a good selling point for the class.”

Butler has witnessed the evolution of the Senior Class Gift campaign since her time at Saint Peter’s. As a senior in 1969, she was even involved in trying to collect contributions toward the campaign.

This year was very different, however. The Senior Class Gift campaign was developed into a specialized task that even had its own logo – a graphic representation titled iBelieve – and a scannable QR code for mobile devices where students could discover more about the initiative and even make a contribution. The result of this extraordinary effort was incredible, as evident in the amount of money that was raised by the Class of 2012.

“They [the seniors] were wonderful,” Butler said. “They really went above and beyond. Some of the [previous] classes got like $700, but this is a remarkable amount. They really did a wonderful job.”

Butler plans to keep her promise to match the Senior Class Gift for years to come, and hopes that students in the future will continue the trend of generosity the Class of 2012 has started.

“Where would you be without Saint Peter’s College?” she said. “That’s been my basic philosophy. Saint Peter’s did for you, so it’s time to do for Saint Peter’s. That’s as simple as it can get.”