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Final Push for Senior Class Gift

Eight days left to give

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All it takes to see BU’s dean of students jump into the Charles River on May 3 is a small (or large) donation to a good cause. Kenn Elmore has promised to reprise his historic 2011 plunge if at least 2,013 members of the Class of 2013 donate to the Class Gift Campaign by the morning of the annual Senior Breakfast.

The Class Gift Campaign is a student-driven initiative that each year allows members of the graduating class to earmark funds to those offices, programs, and projects on campus that mean the most to them. Any amount is welcome—no donation is too small.

With just eight days left to meet its goal, the Class of 2013 is on track to beat last year’s record, says Schyler Cain, class gift coordinator at Development & Alumni Relations. “We had 2,325 donors by the end of the year, and raised a little over $54,000,” Cain (COM’12) says of the Class of 2012. “Due to the incredible work of the committee, to date we are 4 percent ahead of last year’s numbers. We currently have a little over 1,700 donors and more than $25,000 raised.”

Those seniors contributing at least $20.13 can request that their donation honor a specific professor, mentor, or even classmate. The honoree will receive a handwritten thank-you note and a small gift in June. Students can also earmark a donation of any amount to support one of a total of 83 funds, such as specific schools or colleges, athletics, the Community Service Center, or a scholarship fund honoring Lu Lingzi (GRS’14), the BU graduate student who was one of three people killed in the Boston Marathon bomb attacks on April 15.

Each gift, regardless of the size or direction, is credited to the school the donor is enrolled in. The school with the highest participation rate will be thanked with a party at the end of the year. Getting degrees from more than one school or college? The gift will count once for each. This year, the battle among schools is particularly fierce: the School of Hospitality Administration currently tops the list, with 43 percent of seniors donating, but the School of Theology is a tight second, with 42 percent. The competition ends May 1, although seniors have until Senior Breakfast to push total donors over the 2,013 mark and see their daredevil dean of students once again brave the mighty Charles.

In addition to parties and plunges, giving could potentially boost BU’s position in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of top schools. The magazine considers the percentage of alums who donate as one of many factors when compiling its list each year. Mike DeFilippis (COM’13), chairman of the Class Gift Campaign, says that older alumni also may be more likely to donate if they see that new—and cash-strapped—graduates are contributing.

Assuming that the Class Gift Campaign meets its participation goal, Elmore (SED’87) will be joined in his river plunge this year by two members of the Class of 2013: DeFilippis and Lindsey Garber (COM’13), a campaign chair. Last year’s Class Gift incentive was a contest whose lucky winner got to throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

“We debated a lot about what to do this year,” DeFilippis says. “When I approached Dean Elmore with the idea of having him jump again, he asked what we could add to it, and then he said, ‘As chairs, why don’t you two jump in with me?’ We said we would do whatever it took to get the campaign rolling.”

DeFilippis chose to direct his $20.13 donation to support the College of Communication’s Dean’s Fund. As an e-board member of BU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, he says he appreciates how Thomas Fiedler (COM’71), dean of COM, uses proceeds from the fund each year to send the student group to a public relations conference. By donating to the Dean’s Fund, DeFilippis hopes to ensure that future students are able to have similar experiences.

“The Class Gift Campaign is about starting your alumni experience and commemorating your time at BU,” DeFilippis says.

2 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

2 Comments on Final Push for Senior Class Gift

  • Katarina M on 04.26.2013 at 10:15 am

    I LOVE this man!!!!!!

    He embodies everything that a Dean of Students should be.

  • Jane on 04.26.2013 at 1:01 pm

    Dean Elmore is the coolest. BU is so lucky to have him as our Dean of Students!

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