The Giving Season
Thank you for all you do.
At this time of year when we traditionally reflect back on the last 12 months, I am pleased and proud to note that not only have members of the Ithaca College community responded to disasters far away ("President's Corner," ICQ 2005/3) with generous financial support and personal efforts, but the College itself has been on the receiving end of your generosity as well.
For the year ended May 31, 2005, Ithaca College realized an increase in both the amount of contributions and the number of contributors. More than 15,300 of you made generous financial donations -- a record number for annual donors. Alumni contributions led the way, surging 75 percent above last year's total. Gifts from parents of current students climbed an impressive 54 percent. And donations rose 18 percent from individuals and groups outside the alumni and parent population, including faculty and staff
Whether funds were designated for the Ithaca Fund, directed to one of our schools, or marked for a special use in the College, these gifts make a crucial difference in determining how well we are able to respond to opportunities and prepare our students and our offerings for the future. Especially in times of governmental cutbacks in education spending (see page 10), when we are struggling to keep tuition rates affordable, I sincerely thank you for your critical support.
This issue of the ICQ features stories about donors as well as recipients of their philanthropy. On page 14 you can read about Diane Frankle Stork '70, who created a scholarship for students. Compelled by memories of her parents, who volunteered time and donated money to causes they believed in, Diane resolved to follow in the family footsteps. Appreciative of the gift of her own education at Ithaca College, she set up an endowed scholarship in their honor to, as she says, "repay a blessing with a blessing." On the facing page you can read about a recent alumna, Syrena Shirley '05, who during her time at IC benefited from several endowed scholarships. If not for the financial assistance, Syrena says, she simply could not have come to Ithaca. After graduating in May and starting a business career in New York City, Syrena wants to return the kindness. She plans to experience the other side of philanthropy by setting up an endowed scholarship of her own.
These stories illustrate how positive examples of generous gifts can inspire and encourage expanded giving. On page 11, vice president for institutional advancement Shelley Semmler echoes the same idea when she describes "building a culture of philanthropy" at IC. Based on the positive results I detailed above, I think we are on the way to achieving such a goal.
Giving back takes many forms. Over the past year many individuals performed a wide range of volunteer services -- everything from hosting student internships to reviewing applications for admission. All volunteer contributions of time and talent are valuable, vital, and heartily appreciated. You'll see on page 12 a list of just the alumni who came back to campus to speak with and advise current students; many more met with students in other parts of the country, as Network Nights hosts and attendees, admission representatives, internship hosts, and mentors.
On the page across from this column begins a listing of our President's Associates -- a loyal and generous group that deserves special acknowledgment for the leadership contributions they provide. Their support anchors our programs and allows us to pursue our mission. We praise their assistance, appreciate their encouragement, and are proud that they believe in our work.
In addition, there are many other donors who made generous contributions in 2004-5; indeed, the list of our financial supporters stretches longer every year! To accommodate this ever-growing honor roll, we have compiled a complete donor list and posted it online at www.ithaca.edu/yourithaca/donorreport. This is something new, and I hope you will find this change more convenient and timely. By recognizing our universe of donors in the new, customized "YourIthaca" area on our website (see page 8), we gain the capacity to maintain the list at regular intervals, rather than serving up a single annual posting.
There is much to be grateful for -- so many individuals, families, and groups to honor and thank. All of you help us grow and pursue the opportunities that stretch ahead. I appreciate all your gifts and efforts for the College, all your hard work on behalf of the greater good, and the value of your friendship. Your philanthropy allows us to carry on our tradition of excellence.
Photo by Cascadilla Photography