Record-busting gifts from the classes of 1973 and 1963 pushed the combined reunion gift total to more than $47 million, as alumni refused to let cold rain and umbrella-threatening winds dampen their generosity.
The class of 1973 with more than $15 million and the 50th Reunion class with more than $10 million led the way as gifts and pledges from all increased the total raised in Wesleyan’s campaign to more than $298 million, according to Vice President for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson.
The campaign has so far raised $107 million in endowment for financial aid, which is the university’s main priority. In fiscal 2013, 35 donors made six-figure commitments to the financial aid endowment and two parents of Wesleyan students made seven-figure gifts in support of aid.
The 50th Reunion class, which broke fundraising records, saw one of its own honored at Commencement as former board chair Jim Dresser ’63 was awarded an honorary degree.
“The Class of ’63 gift is powerful evidence that Wesleyan alumni care deeply about providing for future generations,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “We are grateful for their generosity, which we know comes out of deep feelings for alma mater and for the lifelong learning and friendships that began here. Their gift will help ensure access to the Wesleyan experience for students now and in the years to come.”
Included in the 1973 giving, which also broke records, was a generous commitment from Frank Sica to endow the position of athletics director.
“Who would have thought a bunch of hippies would break a Wesleyan fundraising record?” said Board Chair Joshua Boger ’73. “We were a serious bunch – the Vietnam War was a growing background in our lives – but we certainly knew how to party; the Grateful Dead on Foss Hill was a highlight. I think it was that balance of ugly omnipresent reality and a studied appreciation for release that stayed with our class. Given the chance, payback just makes sense.”