Westmont Magazine Friendly Class Competition
The 1999 graduates, the newest group of Westmont alums, have raised the bar in class giving. During the most successful senior gift campaign in Westmont history, an impressive 46 percent participated.
Ten reunion classes will announce their gift totals and giving percentages at the Homecoming brunch in September. Classes ending in “4” and “9” are scheduling special gatherings and activities during the two-day event.
In the past, the Alumni Office has encouraged classes to raise $1,000 for each year since graduation, and many have met this target. This year, participation is the goal, and the challenge is equaling (or exceeding!) the 46 percent mark set by the class of 1999.
The surprisingly low rate of alumni giving (last year about 19 percent contributed) hurts Westmont in the widely read rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. The survey uses objective data, such as selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving, in categorizing liberal arts colleges and arranging them in four tiers. The best schools are in the first tier.
Last year, Westmont ranked 128th out of the 162 top liberal arts schools nationwide and just missed inclusion in the third tier. The two areas with the lowest rankings were reputation (138) and alumni giving (142). Improving alumni giving could help raise Westmont out of the fourth tier of schools.
“The percentage of alumni giving is a little bit embarrassing,” notes Dave Talbott ’64, who is organizing his class reunion. “We bring it up in every letter we send to classmates and encourage them to give.”
Years ago, Dave worked in the development office at Westmont, and he remembers how important alumni giving was to many foundations. “Usually they don’t ask ‘How much do your alumni give?’ but ‘How many of your alumni give?’ Participation at any level really makes a difference.”
Kerry Hales Crockett ’94 learned about planning reunions from watching her husband, Carter ’92, organize his. They both believe strongly in supporting the college, “even when times are bleak,” she notes. “It doesn’t matter how much you send,” she adds. “It’s just important to be involved and keep in touch with Westmont by giving. You feel connected and know you are doing something to help. Most of us can give something!”