Last fiscal year, the College launched the inaugural “Beat the Record” challenge, an initiative that encouraged undergraduate alumni to give back to their alma mater. They responded in record numbers, with 13,823 undergraduate alumni making at least one gift to the College before the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.
This year, the College is again counting on alumni generosity to beat last year’s record participation. For 2012, the Beat the Record challenge also is encouraging alumni of the College’s graduate programs to give back in record numbers. Learn more about Beat the Record on Facebook.
“It is imperative that undergraduate and graduate alumni step up to secure this great institution’s future,” said Rector Jeffrey B. Trammell ’73. “Small class sizes, exceptional faculty and abundant opportunities to study liberal arts and conduct meaningful research are defining characteristics of the College that require steady private support,” he added. “I know our alumni and know they will not let the alumni of Davidson, Dartmouth and similar competitors continue to beat our alumni in this important measurement.”
Molly A. Bodnar, executive director for annual giving programs, said it’s important for alumni to support the College, regardless of the size of the gift. Not only is alumni support essential for William & Mary’s financial health, but participation rates also play a role in the College’s rankings.
Currently ranked 33rd overall by U.S. News & World Report, William & Mary is among the best colleges and universities in the nation. However, the College is ranked 97th in financial resources by U.S. News, lower than any top 50 university on the list.
“We are optimistic that alumni will continue giving back to the College in record numbers,” Bodnar said. “It illustrates how much they value their William & Mary education and it also represents an increasing awareness of the importance of private support.”
Although William & Mary is a state institution, only about 12 percent of the College’s operating budget comes from the state’s general fund. The remainder comes from students and their families via tuition and fees; grants for research; and other non-state sources, such as private donations and endowment gifts.
Recent William & Mary graduate Stephanie McGuire ’12, who was senior class president, said Beat the Record’s focus on participation means young alumni have an opportunity to make a difference, even if they can afford only a small gift. Last year, gifts of $100 or less totaled $1.7 million collectively for William & Mary.
Keeping young alumni engaged with William & Mary as they begin to reap the benefits of their education is important, according to McGuire, who emphasizes that gifts both large and small make a difference. “Eventually, some of them might be able to make bigger donations to the College,” she said. “You got where you are as a result of your experience as a member of the Tribe.”
Learn more about private giving at William & Mary or make a gift to help Beat the Record here.