Class of 2010 sets new record for giving to the College
May 20, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
Their having done so, Molly Jernigan (right) says, “makes me
even more proud that I can say I’m a part of Centre College
Class of 2010.”
This year, Centre College president John Roush and his wife,
Susie, matched the Senior Class Gift dollar-for-dollar for the first
$5,000, helping to bring the total amount to more than $10,000.
“As we leave the College, we’re more acutely aware of just how
much of an impact that our experience here has had on our lives
and futures,” senior John Bonnewell says. “So we want to ensure
that others are able to share in the same incomparable experience
that we did.”
On Sunday, May 23, the 291 members of the Centre College Class of 2010 became the College’s newest alumni. Already feeling nostalgic about their years at Centre, the students are making strides—and making gifts—to ensure that others have the same opportunities they had to enjoy a “Centre experience.”
The Class of 2010 has been so eager to give to the College, in fact, that they have broken the record for senior giving. A little more than half of this year’s graduating class have contributed to the Senior Class Gift, which provides money for a need-based scholarship that will be given to a student who may face a sudden financial hardship, leaving him or her otherwise unable to complete their Centre Experience.
“The gift could be the difference for a student getting a Centre education or not,” assistant director of annual giving James Barnard says. “By making gifts, students are literally changing someone’s life.”
Of the senior class’s 291 seniors, 153 students have donated money to the scholarship fund, pledging a total of $5,242.30.
“It’s really exciting to know that our class has put forth more effort in giving than previous classes,” says senior Molly Jernigan of Clinton, Tenn., a member of this year’s Senior Gift Committee. “To have set this record makes me even more proud that I can say I’m a part of Centre College class of 2010.”
And, for the first time ever, Centre president John Roush and his wife, Susie, are matching this amount dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000, bringing the combined total to more than $10,000.
“In the last few years, the Senior Gift program has really taken off,” Barnard says. “This year, however, we felt it was time to take it to the next level. A challenge from the Roushes seemed like the perfect solution. Students want to know how their gifts will help and why they should make the gift; seeing the President step up like this sends a clear message. It gives him a chance to show the students just how important this program is and how much he supports it.”
In honor of their graduating in 2010, most of the seniors donated $20.10 to the fund.
Barnard says that although “it can sometimes be hard to see how a gift this size can really make a difference on campus, a gift match helps illustrate this. Suddenly a student’s gift is worth $40.20, and the overall class gift goes from $5,000 to $10,000. This kind of money makes a difference. It’s only when everyone comes together and pools their money that so much good can happen.”
Knowing that most seniors cannot afford to make large gifts to the College, Barnard says that “what matters is that you give what you can to the things that are important to you. We hope that our newest graduates will consider Centre one of these things, and hopefully their senior gifts will be the first in a long tradition of giving back. The whole point of the Senior Gift program is to show students how gifts don’t have to be huge to make a difference and to begin the conversation about the important role that alumni play in advancing the College.”
This year’s seniors are already beginning to understand how their contributions will play a significant role in the life of a future student.
“As we leave the College, we’re more acutely aware of just how much of an impact that our experience here has had on our lives and futures,” John Bonnewell ’10 of Glasgow, Ky., says. “So we want to ensure that others are able to share in the same incomparable experience that we did. The senior gift is our way of giving back—not just to the school, but to our friends and peers as well.”
Agreeing, senior Lily Thompson of Louisville says, “By donating, we’re able to both help fund a student who really needs it and show our appreciation for our own Centre experience. The opportunities afforded to us at Centre have been incredibly influential in our lives and have made us the people we are today. Giving to the Senior Class Gift allows us to continue the tradition of loyal alumni support, one of the many traditions that makes Centre so special.”