Oh, the places he goes

By Annie Flanagan

First England, then Cyprus and Iceland. Now Dubai, U.A.E. And those are just the places Rosenberg has visited on behalf of Macalester in the past six months. Tommy Bonner, vice president for advancement and development, spoke to Macalester’s ongoing effort to reach out to international alumni.

“We have made deliberate efforts to connect with alumni in various parts of the world,” Bonner said.

Despite the encroaching economic recession, Bonner denied that the trip to Dubai-a world business hub in a region rich in oil-was a tactical decision.

“The Middle East was not a shift in focus. We began planning trips abroad to reach out to our international alumni long before the economy began suffering,” he said.

Aside from appealing to international alumni in their own countries, Macalester also relies on the 24 hour International Phonathon for donations, Anthony Grundhauser, director of individual gifts, said. “Last year was a wonderful success with alumni and parents gifts coming in from 34 countries around the globe.”

Dan Schroeder ’07, who presently lives in Dubai, agreed that some of Macalester’s tactics have worked.

“I do feel connected to Macalester, particularly to the people I know that are sill there, both faculty and students,” he said. “I plan to donate to the annual fund. I don’t think my location has any impact on this, except in that where I chose to live may affect my income.”

According to the Alumni Website, there are Alumni Chapters all over the country and world, and approximately 10% of alums live abroad. However, there are more obstacles to get alumni living abroad, rather than in the United States, to donate, Associate Director of the Annual Fund Meghan Bethke said.

Bonner agreed, listing communication failures, philosophical differences regarding philanthropy and United States government issued tax deductions as the biggest obstacles.

“Staying in touch with our international alumni is our biggest challenge,” he said, “but on the upside, the Internet has boosted our ability to do so.”

To encourage alumni, both international and domestic, to donate to the school, Bethke emphasized the importance of educating students about Macalester’s ongoing fundraising efforts and plans for the future while they remain on campus.

Jimmy Logun, ’08 said he has found this tactic effective.

“Oh yeah, I feel very connected to Mac and will definitely plan to donate in the future,” Logun said. “Macalester tries there best to make international students feel at home through programs like the host family program and dinners, which fosters a community for us.”

“It is vital that students know how philanthropy has affected their experience here at Mac,” Bethke said, “through highly visible things like financial aid, scholarships, or collaborative research opportunities, but also through less visible things like shoveled sidewalks and well-equipped chemistry labs.”

While dazzling efforts have gone into attracting donations from international alums, the focus remains at home, Bonner said.

“I would say we are spending 95-98% of our time focused domestically.”

As outlined in a Campaign Planning Update last December by Bonner the funds raised by the capital campaign will go toward financing the various building projects, totaling $59.5 million dollars, currently underway, including the Macalester Athletic and Recreation Center ($59.5 million), Institute for Global Citizenship ($7.5 million) and Janet Wallace expansion and renovation ($26 million).

In addition to large projects, the money will go toward money for financial aid, study away programs, research and curricular funds and operating funds.

The campaign is very ambitious not only considering the monetary goal, but the time they are trying to do it in.

“Currently the average college campaign is running eight years from start to finish,” Bonner said. “We want to complete this one in five years as we can use the new facilities and endowment earnings sooner rather than later.