In response to a challenge from Chair of the HWS Board of Trustees David Deming ’75, an astounding 70 percent of the senior Classes of 2010 contributed more than $8K to the Annual Fund, the largest percentage of participation from the senior classes in the Colleges’ recorded history. Gifts to the Annual Fund provide for the operation of the Colleges including unrestricted support of faculty, financial aid and academic programs. The gift from the Classes of 2010 ensures their successors will receive the same caliber of education, experiences and opportunities they had.
Because the senior classes reached the 70 percent mark, Deming has agreed to match their gift 2:1. Since he became chair of the Board of Trustees in 2006, Deming has matched the senior classes’ gift at a ratio relative to participation. At 50 percent participation, Deming will match the total senior gift 1:1. At 70 percent, the ratio jumps to 2:1. The Classes of 2010 were the first to reach the 70 percent goal.
“I may have paid more this year, but I couldn’t be happier,” says Deming. “The Classes of 2010 have brought great pride to the Colleges through their many and varied accomplishments. But this milestone – 70 percent participation – is a permanent demonstration that these graduates believe in the future of Hobart and William Smith.”
With a gift of $20.10 to the Annual Fund, seniors became official members of the Stewardson Society, gaining access to exclusive senior events and end-of-year celebrations, like “The 23 Days Party,” held in April and co-sponsored by Deming and Trustee David Lenihan ’72, P’12. In addition, a gift of $50 earned seniors special recognition at the leadership level, the Emerson Society, and qualified the donor for invitations to special events and communications post-graduation.
“Since the senior gift effort has been formalized and the Stewardson Society established, we have seen marked improvement not only in giving among the senior classes, but in these classes after they graduate,” says Kristen Einstein, director of annual giving. “When seniors give, they are more likely to continue to do so post-graduation. These students are entering the work force with a strong sense of pride knowing that they left their alma mater a better place and that their degree carries value.”
Seniors Victoria Forman ’10 and Matt Wilson ’10 were this year’s Stewardson Society co-chairs, responsible for organizing events to bring the classes together and raise funds.
“I wanted to get involved in something that would benefit the Classes of 2010 and would be remembered after we left,” says Forman. “I think the Stewardson Society is important because it allows the senior class to show their pride. The more people start to give, it encourages others and by the end of the year every single person wanted to reach that 70 percent goal. The events allowed seniors to spend time with each other as a class and look back on the past four years. It is so special because it is unique to every class.”
Wilson also looked forward to working on this project with the senior classes. “I volunteered for this because I knew that the classes of 2010 cherished their time here and I wanted to help prove it,” he says. “Further, I truly appreciated all the support HWS alums have given the Colleges and wanted to be in a position to help encourage more of it. The earlier you start supporting HWS, the more constant your support will most likely be, which is why I am so ecstatic that so many seniors joined the Stewardson Society.”
Named for the first president of the combined Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Stewardson Society honor’s President Langdon Stewardson’s dedication in bringing Hobart and William Smith Colleges together. The Stewardson Society itself brings together members of the senior classes to present a gift to the Colleges in honor of their impending graduation. This tradition unites the seniors with the alums who have preceded them and supported their experience while also connecting them to the current students who follow. Visit Stewardson Society’s Facebook page for more information.