It worked before. Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore famously plunged into the Charles River in a tux last spring to coax donations to the Class Gift from the Class of 2011—and a record number contributed. So how might Elmore (SED’87) top that performance next Commencement?
He could swallow a live goldfish. He could run the Boston Marathon. He could shave his head. (Whoops, forget that one.) Candidly, we haven’t run any of these suggestions by the dean, but if you check out the accompanying video, you’ll see the only ideas he’s irrevocably deep-sixed are a river reprise and anything involving death-defying heights.
So now, Class of 2012, it’s your turn: what would you pay to watch the dean do? He and the Office of Development & Alumni Relations (DAR) are inviting seniors to submit ideas on a Class Gift–related exploit by Thanksgiving.
As it was last year, DAR’s target is a hoped-for number of donors—you guessed it: 2,012—rather than a dollar figure. “The Class Gift campaign is really about banding together with the graduating class and starting the alumni tradition of giving back to BU,” says Allie Rowe (GSM’12), manager of student philanthropy programs. “We’ll be focusing on participation rather than dollar amount.” She says Elmore’s support is crucial.
“Having such a passionate dean of students who is willing to do almost anything for the cause has been amazing,” says Rowe.
Seniors earmark their Class Gift donations for the offices and programs of their choice, from athletics to scholarships. Students typically target their particular school or college, according to Rowe, although many chose sports and student organizations as beneficiaries last year.
A higher participation rate also helps the University’s ranking when U.S. News & World Report decides on its yearly ranking of top schools. Last year’s seniors gave $35,000-plus, a figure boosted with another $100,00 from the BU Alumni Council, as promised if the challenge was met.