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>  News Releases >   2003 >   June

Dartmouth Class of 1978 sets reunion gift record: $14.4 million

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/18/03 • Contact Public Affairs

Dartmouth's Class of 1978 has raised a record-setting $14.4 million for the College - a remarkable feat, say College officials, at a time when fundraising for higher education faces its toughest challenges in more than a decade. Class representatives presented the gift to Dartmouth President James Wright during their 25th Reunion dinner at the College on Saturday, June 14.

Like Class Day, Commencement and reunions, the competition to break class giving records is a spring tradition at Dartmouth. The previous College record, held by the Class of 1951 and presented as part of its 50th reunion two years ago, was $6.46 million.

"This is an astonishing gift at a crucial time," said President Wright. "With it, as well as the gifts from Dartmouth's other benefactors, we can live our mission: to provide the strongest student experience in the country."

"The gift speaks volumes about how my classmates feel about Dartmouth," said Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric and a member of '78's tightly knit Reunion Giving Committee. "Twenty-five years ago, this place changed our lives. We've always given to say 'thanks' - in good times and bad."

Trustee Peter Fahey '68, a retired partner of Goldman Sachs and longstanding benefactor of the College, called the gift "vital in supporting the finest undergraduate education available in the country."

"Quality is always expensive," Fahey said. "With the downturn in the markets, charitable gifts play an especially important role in sustaining an institution such as Dartmouth."

The Class of '78 gift also earns Dartmouth bragging rights in a friendly competition between two Ivy League peers. Of the $14.4 million, $6.2 million is unrestricted for current use and exceeds by $230,000 the largest unrestricted gift a reunion class has made to Princeton University. Unlike restricted gifts, unrestricted ones can be used for any purpose a college designates.

"Dartmouth and Princeton aren't the largest of the eight Ivies," said Bruce Rauner, a principal of the venture capital firm GTCR Golder Rauner LLC and a member of the Class of '78's giving committee. "Person for person, though, our alumni are among the most generous. Our class just decided to up the ante."

An anonymous member of the Class of '78 challenged his classmates to reach 65-percent participation in the fund drive. For every five percentage points over 45, the alumnus offered to contribute an additional, unrestricted $100,000. To date, the class has reached nearly 60-percent participation with two weeks to go before year end, on June 30.

For its 35th Reunion, Fahey's Class of 1968 also set a record. As of June 11, it had raised $10,429,568, of which $1,317,944 is unrestricted, topping 35th reunion records previously held by Dartmouth Classes of 1964 and 1965.

The Class of 1953 celebrated its 50th Reunion with a gift of $12,553,053, of which $2,509,165 is unrestricted. Fred Whittemore, advisory director at Morgan Stanley and chair of the 50th Reunion campaign, convened with his classmates on Commencement weekend, June 6-7. With their announcement they set a new 50th Reunion record for Dartmouth.

"Times have changed since I was here fifty years ago," Whittemore said. "Class spirit hasn't."

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