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Stanford Report, June 20, 2001
Class of 2001 presents $80,700 Senior Gift

The Class of 2001 Senior Gift team presented an $80,700 check to President John Hennessy during Saturday's Class Day luncheon. With 662 seniors, or 46 percent of the class, participating, students raised $17,067; the rest of the total came from matching funds and challenges.

"I think as we step out of Stanford, Stanford's been doing a lot for us and is giving us a great send-off this last week, and it's just a small token to say thanks back and we'll be thinking about it," said Senior Gift co-chair Puneet Sandhu. The average donation was $26.

Gift co-chairs took a new approach this year. Instead of trying to beat last year's record gift of nearly $281,000, they spent more time educating their classmates about giving and building loyalty among freshly minted alumni. The strategy seems to have paid off -- nearly 135 seniors promised not just to give to the Stanford Fund this year but to keep contributing next year as well.

Caitlin Ryan, director of student and recent graduate development, explained what differed about this year's campaign.

First, students asked their classmates to give specifically to the Stanford Fund and offered details about where the money would go. "It was a much more educational approach to fundraising," Ryan said.

Second, they requested that students pledge to give again next year. In the past, Ryan said, "there was a big drop-off [in giving] after graduation." This year, over 9 percent of seniors promised to give again.

"I believe very strongly that it'll make a big difference next year and the year after," Ryan commented. "It will build a strong foundation for the future." The average pledge was around $37, Ryan said.

The 32 students who gave "leadership gifts" of $100 or more received President Hennessy's thanks at a small reception that was followed by a larger party for all senior givers June 12.

In addition to Sandhu, three other seniors served as gift chairs: Mike Kass, Michael Landres and Monica Sergott.