Senior class gift largest ever and still growing

By Brian Martucci

This year’s senior class gift committee has already raised more money than any class gift before it, and if all goes as planned it will end up doubling the second largest gift ever.

As of April 18, about $30,000 had been raised for the gift, which will be an endowed scholarship to be distributed to one student annually, according to recently-departed Annual Fund employee Adrienne Dorn ’03, who worked extensively with the senior class gift committee this year. The previous record was set by last year’s gift, which raised about $25,000 to be put toward the existing Catherine Lealtad Scholarship.

The goal of this year’s fund-raising campaign is $50,000, which is Macalester’s minimum amount for an endowed scholarship, according to Vivek Sablani ’06, a member of the gift committee.

“The college keeps its scholarships’ principals, in this case $50,000, intact and uses the interest they generate to give to students from year to year,” Dorn said.

Annual interest from a $50,000 principal typically amounts to about $2,500, which is enough for one student’s scholarship.

Although the exact criteria students must meet to receive the scholarship have not been set in stone, Dorn expressed doubt that it would be very restrictive. Aside from going to students with high amounts of financial need—a given—she anticipated that over the years an array of students would benefit from it.

“I think the scholarship will be open to all students rather than a particular group,” Dorn said. “It’s designed to be more of an honor than anything else, a way for the Class of 2006 to leave a tangible lasting impression on the college.”

The college is always looking for ways to increase the pool of financial aid available to its students, Dorn added.

The scholarship fund has received several large contributions so far. According to Sablani, both President Brian Rosenberg and Dean of Students Laurie Hamre have contributed $1,000 each to the fund and one set of parents has donated $5,000.

“The class gift committee approached parents and faculty to solicit contributions, and we hope to receive more funds in the coming weeks,” Sablani said.

“Contributions for this year’s senior class gift are coming entirely from graduating seniors, their parents, faculty and staff,” said Michael McCue, the Annual Fund’s Associate Director.

“We call the donations that come into the Annual Fund unrestricted giving,'" McCue said. "We put it towards any and all projects and departments that need it, and all of it is spent the year in which it is received."<br /><br /><br /><br />In practice, this means that the Annual Fund's money cannot be used to fund any specific scholarships.<br /><br /><br /><br />The majority of outside scholarship funding comes from donors who explicitly ask for their money to be used for a scholarship, McCue said.<br /><br /><br /><br />Dorn said she believed that the fund-raising goal of $50,000 could be met by the time of graduation because students typically give more heavily in the weeks leading up to commencement.<br /><br /><br /><br />The senior gift committee has tentative plans to supply each first-year student who receives the Class of 2006's scholarship with a book containing tidbits of advice from every student who contributed to the fund, Dorn said.<br /><br /><br /><br />While time and resource constraints may prevent the collection of the quotations in the weeks leading up to commencement, Dorn said that books may be distributed during the 2006 graduates' five-year reunion.<br /><br /><br /><br />"We'd like it to happen eventually because it sends students who receive the scholarship a message thatwow, students actually contributed to this fund,'” Dorn said.

According to Sablani, if all seniors who have not yet donated to the scholarship fund gave just $30 of their personal money, the fund would grow by as much as $9,000.

“We encourage all graduating seniors and their parents—as well as any juniors, sophomores or first-years with friends in the senior class—to give to the fund in any reasonable amount,” he said. “We still have $20,000 to go, and we want to get there by the day of commencement.”