William & Mary alumni have reached a record-breaking milestone in giving to their alma mater. More than 15,000 undergraduate alumni — 15,134 to be exact — contributed to the university during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
That number represents a 5.3 percent increase over last year’s record of 14,368 undergraduate alumni donors, and marks the first time in the university’s history that more than 15,000 undergraduate alumni donors have contributed to William & Mary during a single fiscal year — from July 1 to June 30.
It also signals significant growing support for the historic liberal arts university even as taxpayer dollars for the public institution decline.
“It’s wonderful and inspiring to see so many undergraduate alumni investing in an institution that is so near and dear to our hearts,” said John D. Windt ’89 of Vienna, Va., chair of the William & Mary Annual Giving Board of Directors.
“Annual giving has become the lifeblood of the College, and increasing the number of donors year over year will ensure that William & Mary will continue to flourish.”
While the Commonwealth of Virginia provided more than 42 percent of William & Mary’s annual operating budget in 1980, state support has dipped as low as 12 percent in recent years. State support accounted for 13.4 percent of the institution’s operating budget in FY2013.
Officials stress that annual gifts from alumni and private donors provide William & Mary with the flexibility to meet its most pressing needs — from scholarships to programs and facilities — and to raise the margin of academic excellence through funding meaningful opportunities for learning, research and study by its students and faculty.
William & Mary consistently ranks among the nation’s best for undergraduate teaching, best value and for its graduate and professional programs. It ranked No. 6 among public institutions nationally in the latest U.S. News & World Report listings. Alumni donor participation rates are among the key variables considered in the publication’s annual rankings of colleges and universities, noted Dan Frezza, assistant vice president for Lifetime Philanthropic Engagement and Annual Giving at William & Mary.
“More important, and too often overlooked, is the fact that expansive alumni support strengthens an organization’s sense of community, self-reliance and sustainability — all of which are invaluable,” he said.The 15,134 donors represent 24.85 percent of William & Mary’s undergraduate alumni and the highest donor participation rate among that group since 2005-06. Efforts are underway to grow alumni giving to 40 percent by 2020. Such an effort, Frezza said, “will develop a community that is engaged through lifetime philanthropic support that will sustain William & Mary for this generation, the next and the ones that follow.”