College kicks off Philanthropy Celebration Week

College kicks off Philanthropy Celebration Week

March 14, 2014

Imagine if all the LaGrange College students who receive some sort of financial aid mysteriously disappeared from campus. Can you guess how many students would be left?

Only 17.

That’s hardly a thriving campus. Fortunately, gifts to the college from foundations, alumni, faculty, staff and friends provide the financial resources for LaGrange College students to receive a transformative education. Next week, students will show their thanks through Philanthropy Celebration Week, a time for them to convey appreciation to everyone who made their education more accessible and affordable.

The week begins with a two-day Advancement Roundtable, a conference for university advancement vice residents held  primarily in Dickson Assembly Room of Turner Hall.

“We founded the Advancement Roundtable two years ago, and last year many who attended were impressed with the genuine appreciation our students conveyed through the Philanthropy Celebration Week activities,” says Will Jones, Vice President for External Relations.

“They especially loved the ‘Wall of Thanks,’ which consisted of our students’ painted hand and messages on two large white sheets that were displayed on the trellis outside Turner Hall. They commented on how enthusiastic our students were in their efforts to give our donors a tangible and public thank-you. Many of them even said they were taking the idea straight back to their Development Offices so they could implement it on their campuses.”

During the week, large red gift tags will be affixed to all the campus buildings that were made possible because of the support of donors.

Students will create this year’s “Wall of Thanks” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday on the Lewis Library Plaza. The rain location will be in Pitts Dining Hall. Their finished creation will then hang outside the front of Turner Hall.

“Faculty and staff should be sure to stop by the plaza and see the students getting into the action, though you might want to stay a few feet away because of the paint,” said Alie Jones ’10, LaGrange College Fund Gift Officer. “It’s fun to watch the students cover their hands in all different colors and be creative with their messages to our donors.”

Students and the larger community are invited to a meet-and-greet with Holly Hall, features editor for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, from 11 a.m. to noon on Monday in the SOURCE Center. Hall is one of the featured presenters at the Advancement Roundtable.

On Tuesday, Dr. Robert Wilson-Black will speak at 11:15 a.m. in the Boopie at a sustainability CE event, “Bill Gates, Bono, Chelsea Clinton and Kate Winslet share THIS with you: What I learned about philanthropy talking with them.”

Wilson-Black is CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Sojourners, a leading progressive Christian organization founded in 1971 with a mission to articulate the biblical call to social justice. Two LaGrange College alumni, Alie Jones ’10 (LaGrange College Fund Gift Officer) and Knox Robinson ’13 completed internships at Sojourners while they were students.

“Philanthropy is not merely for the uber-wealthy, not merely about compassion, not so distinct from justice and poverty eradication, and not nearly as removed from your world as you might imagine,” Wilson-Black said. “In this session you will sharpen your personal definition and understanding of philanthropy and kill-off some troublesome myths about it while participating in a most unusual experiment that ensures you leave the room an actual philanthropist.”

On Wednesday, students will revive last year’s popular “‘Thank You’ Pix Project,” a photo contest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Pitts Dining Hall. Groups of students will have their photos taken dressed in scarves, boas, mustaches and other props and display thank-you signs to donors. Large-group and small-group winners (based on creativity) will win Walmart gift cards.

The campus will celebrate Tuition Free Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday on the library plaza, and for a great reason: Thursday, March 20, represents the approximate point when tuition runs out and the remaining two months of the academic year is funded by the financial support of others.

“On average, students save $7,801 every school year at LaGrange because of the generosity of others,” said Trevor Lane, LaGrange College Fund Gift Officer. “That adds up to $31,204 over the course of four years. Celebrating Tuition Free Day helps the students see more clearly how hundreds of alumni and friends helped make their education possible.”

While students are celebrating Tuition Free Day, the college will honor its Lifetime Giving Societies and Quadrangle Society members at a luncheon. Lifetime Giving Societies’ members are those who have given cumulatively more than $50,000 to the college, and Quadrangle Society members have made provisions for the college in their wills or have established deferred-giving plans.

The week’s events culminate with a CE event presentation of the inspiring documentary film “A Small Act” at 7 p.m. in the Boopie. The documentary conveys the story of a young Kenyan whose life is changed drastically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, the student decides to find the woman after he graduates from Harvard University and has become a human rights lawyer for the United Nations. Inspired by her generosity, he starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor.

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