School navigation

College seeks alumni participation

February 12, 2001

The magic number this year is 30 percent. The Collins Foundation will grant the College $36,000 if at least 30 percent of alumni contribute to the annual fund before May 31.

“Alumni giving is an important sign of how well we are doing as educators,” says Curtis Johnson, dean of the College and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., Professor of Government. “When our alumni give back to the College, they are saying, in effect, that their experience and education here were of lasting value—worthy of continued support and appreciation.

“Perhaps no other reward so nourishes our faculty as the knowledge that the education they helped foster, when our alumni were enrolled here as students, continues to make a difference today.”

“Alumni giving provides opportunities for students through scholarships and programs,” says junior Joe Bielecki, president of Associated Students of Lewis & Clark. “And it bolsters the College’s reputation, which helps all students and alumni.”

“Strong alumni participation in the annual fund helps us earn grants from other foundations, as well,” adds Jennifer Samuels, director of annual giving. “One of the first things foundations ask when we apply for funds is, ‘How are your alumni supporting the College?’”

Alumni participation also factors into the calculations that are used to rank colleges on a national level. Last year, 28 percent of Lewis & Clark alumni made gifts to the annual fund, and the College garnered $30,000 from the Collins Foundation. In comparison, 37 percent of Reed College alumni and 40 percent of Willamette University alumni contributed to their schools last year.

“The Collins Foundation wants to help Oregon’s private colleges increase their alumni participation so they can continue to shine on a national level,” says Samuels. “Each year, the foundation raises the bar a little higher.”

To encourage alumni participation, the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees has issued a challenge. The board will match, on a 1-to-1 basis, all of the payments alumni make on their phonathon pledges. Online gifts will reap even higher rewards: trustees will match, on a 2-to-1 basis, all gifts up to $1,000, contributed at

To sweeten the pot, Charles (Butch) Swindells ’64, chair of Lewis & Clark’s Board of Trustees, has issued a challenge to alumni who have not yet contributed or pledged this year. They will receive a letter in April asking for their support. The letter will include a $5 check that is made out to Lewis & Clark from Swindells. If alumni return his check along with a gift of their own, the College will add both checks to the annual fund.

Graduating seniors are also joining in the annual fund campaign through a senior-gift initiative. They will contribute to the annual fund to support student scholarships. The senior-gift committee is working to reach a goal of 50 percent participation by graduation, and the seniors are well on their way toward meeting this goal.

The annual fund provides support for student financial aid; technology; research; maintenance of campus grounds; and programming in the arts, sciences, athletics and overseas study.

“We’re more than two-thirds of the way to our 30 percent goal,” says Samuels. “There are also 1,800 alumni who have pledged to the annual fund this year but have not yet sent the College their gifts. It’s crucial that alumni fulfill their pledges.”

Share this story on

The Chronicle Magazine

Contact Us