Senior class gives back with scholarship


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This year’s senior class gift is the gift that keeps on giving.

Departing from the tradition of installing a structural addition on campus, this year’s seniors have been asked to contribute $20.13 to a scholarship for an incoming freshman. The Senior Class Gift Committee, led by Assistant Director of Annual Giving Allison Hotard, chose a scholarship as the class gift due to the rising cost of tuition.

“This year we wanted to do something different,” Hotard said. “We wanted something that could impact a student greatly so that no matter how much money we raised, it would be able to help the student.”

In the past, senior class gifts have included physical on-campus additions such as the bicycle racks, the streetcar statue in the Peace Quad and the clock by Monroe Library.

“While the clock is beautiful and a great thing to have, and it will most likely always be there, it won’t really serve a purpose if there aren’t any students to see that clock because they couldn’t afford to come here,” Margaret Vienne, English writing senior and member of the Senior Class Gift Committee, said.

The scholarship will be given by Sal Liberto, vice president for enrollment management and associate provost, through the office of admissions. It will be for one-time use and given to an incoming freshman. A criterion has been established to determine which student will receive the scholarship. Once chosen, that student is free to use the money however they see fit, whether that be for books, room and board or to cover part of their tuition.

With tuition increasing, Hotard said the scholarship should help soften the blow.

“I think with people concerned over the cost of tuition rising, it

is a good way to cushion that,” Hotard said.

Seniors have mixed feelings about the decision to give a scholarship rather than a material gift. Sociology senior Camille Fiess said she was pleasantly surprised by the change.

“Although past gifts are still present on campus and will technically leave a longer lasting memory of the graduating classes, I ultimately feel that the best way to honor the school is by helping another student join the community,” Fiess said.

Although the recommended donation is $20.13, students are encouraged to give any amount, big or small. Students who donated by April 5 were also given the opportunity to name their gift in honor of someone who has made their education at Loyola possible.

Fiess said her biggest incentive to donate was the chance to show her parents her gratitude.

“My parents have supported me throughout my entire education at Loyola, and I feel it is important for me to convey my appreciation to them,” Fiess explained. “Plus, I think they will get a kick out of having their names in the graduation program.”

Other students prefer to pay respects to their parents in different ways.

“I would rather do something more personal for those people who helped shape my educational career than donate to the class gift,” Ally Hodapp, mass communication senior, said.

As of April 11, the donation amount was $1,353.00, with 56 out of 888 graduating seniors having given to the scholarship.

“The amount of donors is up from last year, and I think that has something to do with the type of gift we are doing. More people are willing to donate when they know it is going towards a scholarship,” Vienne said.

In order to raise that number before the May 10 deadline, Vienne said the committee plans to continue reaching out to students through tabling in the Danna Student Center and at events where seniors are present. They also plan to continue their social media outreach, specifically through utilizing the twitter hashtag #Igave.

Earlier in the semester the committee participated in a fundraising competition with fellow Jesuit university Spring Hill College. Each university set up a web page for online donations to see who could get the greatest number of senior class gift donors.

“It was a friendly Jesuit competition and we had the majority of online donations,” Vienne said.

Perhaps the biggest incentive to donate is one that is in no way related to the senior class gift. In honor of the university’s centennial celebration, an anonymous donor recently offered to give $100,000 to Loyola if they can get 2,500 new donors by the end of this semester. A new donor is one that has contributed any amount of money since August 2012. Senior class gift donations will also apply to the Centennial Challenge.

“Even if a senior just gives $5, that is still contributing to the senior class gift that will then contribute to that goal of

2,500 donors. So seniors should know that your little bit will count and hopefully bring in another $100,000,” Vienne said.

If the university meets the challenge the donation will go into the Loyola fund, which allows the president to use the money when and where he sees fit. Currently, the amount of donors is 620.

Hotard noted that the scholarship is reflective of the Jesuit incentive of being “men and women for others.”

“It is part of the Jesuit tradition of helping others,” Hotard said. “It helps instill that in students, and it is a way to leave your legacy for future generations at Loyola.”

For many students at Loyola, the scholarships they received are what made their college education possible. The goal of the senior class gift is to continue this tradition.

“I know without the scholarship I would not be at Loyola,” Vienne said. “When I think back on my Loyola experience, I want someone to have an experience like mine, or an experience even better, and for some students that is not possible without a scholarship.”

Olivia Lueckemeyer can be reached at [email protected]

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