Class of 2014 leaves record-breaking legacy
When the Class of 2014 walked across the stage this May, they had plenty to be proud of. But this year, graduates carried with them a unique achievement—they set the record for participation in Furman First Gift, the senior class gift.
Over 62 percent of the class contributed to Furman United, the fund dedicated to keeping current students with financial needs on campus.
“More than 385 seniors raised close to $20,000, which was then supplemented with $28,000 from parent contributions in honor of their seniors,” said Ashley Baker ’10, leadership giving officer. Working closely with Senior Class President Alex Cross ’14 and Vice President Lee Weiland ’14, Baker led the effort from the development office.
“In the past few years, seniors have transitioned from wanting physical legacies to scholarship funds. Physical facilities are often prohibitively expensive, but a class scholarship fund produces immediate results to assist other students. And the Class of 2014 can continue to grow and contribute to their Furman United scholarship for years to come,” said Baker.
To illustrate the impact of a scholarship fund, Phil Howard, director of donor marketing, referenced the Class of 2001’s Mlecko Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Mary Mlecko, a classmate who died before graduating. Thanks to the senior class’s contributions and their continued gifts in years that followed, the scholarship fund distributes more than $5000 each year to students in need.
Last year, more than 180 students benefited from Furman United funding, the choice class gift designation for the Class of 2013, too.
Cross and Weiland used a simple message to encourage fellow seniors to support the effort. “We asked our classmates to imagine their Furman experience without the best friends they made, their sorority sisters, or teammates. You never know who is facing financial need and might not be able to come back. Why would you not want to give to a fund that keeps your friends here?” Cross said.
“We were especially excited to hear the Class of 2015 is considering Furman United as their gift. Maybe they will beat our record—it’s one record we don’t mind losing,” she added.
In appreciation, all seniors who participated in the fundraising efforts received an engraved brick on the Belltower walkway.