Published 09/04/12

Breaking records and taking names: The Class of 2012 creates scholarship

Through the years, graduating seniors traditionally work together to leave their legacy on the campus they’ve called “home” for the last four years of their lives. Sometimes, the Senior Class Gift is a physical structure, such as the famed Archway structure. Other times, it’s less physical, such as this year’s gift – an endowed scholarship.

“Many students thought a scholarship wasn't a good idea initially, since it didn't seem tangible,” says Tara Calnan ’12. “For me, the best way to get them to donate was to explain the real point of the gift. Explaining to fellow students that a scholarship would actually be the most permanent gift we could give really helped.”

In the end, the graduates pledged a Bryant history-making $60,000 with 56 percent of the class participating. Donors voted to establish a scholarship that will provide tuition assistance annually to future students beginning in 2017.

Gaining momentum

The kickoff in George E. Bello Center was a milestone event at the beginning of the academic year.

“We were only at about $8,000 when we were more than halfway through the night, which was a bit discouraging,” says Katie Colton ’12, Senior Class Gift Committee co-chair. “When President Machtley got up on stage, he captivated the room when he explained why the class gift is so important.”

More than his convincing argument, President Machtley’s commitment to the class brought the pledges in. “He pledged to donate a generous amount of money if we hit $12,000 that evening,” Colton says. “We ended the night with more than $21,000, which provided a huge momentum for us as we launched our campaign.”

Hitting a plateau

The class’s enthusiasm that night proved to be a turning point in the campaign. “We … were left with many students who were very adamant about not donating,” Colton says.  

The committee forged ahead.

“One of the hardest things to do was to deal with friends who were reluctant to donate,” Calnan recalls. “Often times they would write you off and then just move easily into another conversation.  I think that once my friends realized why I was on the committee, and why I thought it was so important, that they then began to take it more seriously.”

The campaign lost momentum after winter break, notes Kevin Javier ’12, another co-chair.

Changing their tactics

“In order to overcome this challenge, we set smaller, more obtainable goals for our committee by breaking into smaller teams,” Javier says, “which really helped us reach our goals before the end of February.” Colton adds, “Our committee did an amazing job.”

“As senior year went on, more and more students got jobs and saw their road to success coming true which then helped them to also realize how much Bryant has done to prepare them for the future,” Colton says.

That’s why at the year-end Graduation Fair, they reached their $60,000 pledge goal.

 “I was there when it happened, and one of our advisors, John Garcia ’02 [associate director, annual giving], looked like a kid in a candy store, he was just so happy and proud,” Colton says. “Our committee was thrilled as well, and it was just a great feeling.”

Providing limitless opportunities to future students

“Everyone I spoke to – everyone who donated – wanted to give another student the same opportunity at success as we have experienced,” says Javier

“The great thing about an endowed scholarship is it’s perpetual – they can continue to support it 10 years from now, 50 years from now,” Garcia says.

Anyone may contribute to this endowed scholarship fund, now or years from now. To give to this year’s senior class gift, your own senior class gift, or the general Bryant Fund, visit www.Bryant.edu/giving