In his 45-plus years as a Boston University faculty member, Associate Professor Ted de Winter has watched from a front-row seat as the College of Engineering has risen into the top 15 percent of the nation’s engineering schools.
But, as the College gained stature, according to De Winter, one key element has lagged behind: “alumni participation.”
To jumpstart participation, the long-time professor has issued the “Ted de Winter Challenge.” De Winter has committed $10,000 to the Engineering Annual Fund, which will be used to match gifts from first-time alumni donors up to $100 each. The challenge gives these donors the opportunity to double the impact of their gifts.
While the College is raising its profile, it finds itself at a competitive disadvantage because the percentage of alumni who make donations to the College lags well behind that of peer institutions.
De Winter’s reasoning behind the challenge is simple: the College of Engineering progresses much faster with not only an increase in alumni donations, but with an enhanced partnership between the faculty and alumni.
“Alumni commitment comes from their connection with faculty,” De Winter. “When students and faculty really interact, that’s what creates loyalty. If alumni can see a faculty member contributing, hopefully it will put a spark into them.”
The Engineering Annual Fund supports out-of-the-classroom enrichment opportunities for students that go beyond what tuition alone can provide. Programs like Engineers Without Borders, which is assisting a small town in Peru, and the STARS Program, which provides a summer housing allowance for student assisting with faculty research, have helped translate classroom learning into real-world experiences.
While today’s students will see the first-hand advantages that the Ted de Winter Challenge provides, both recent and not-so-recent graduates will collect the benefits of an increase in alumni support.
“If BU manages to increase its standings and respect among the academic community,” De Winter said. “This cachet really accrues to all people who have BU degrees, whether they earned them 30 years ago or last year.”
To participate in the “Ted de Winter Challenge,” and find out more information on the Engineering Annual Fund, visit https://www.bu.edu/alumni/eng/giving/.