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Young Alumni Weekend Recap, Reunion Giving and Chapter Awards

October 10, 2011

The Alumni Board, Class Agents and Chapter Leaders Conference joined over 500 young alumni and their guests for a busy, festive and productive Young Alumni Weekend/Homecoming  September 30-October 1.

The volunteer leadership boards heard substantive presentations from President Ken Ruscio on W&L today, including the focus on raising financial aid dollars, the Roger Mudd Center for the Study of Professional Ethics, and the ongoing renovation of the historic Colonnade.

President Ken Ruscio ’76 welcomes Trustee Emeritus Ted Van Leer ’51 and retired VP Farris Hotchkiss ’58 back to the Lee House during the Class Agents Reception

V.P. for Finance and Treasurer Steve McAllister and Interim Provost Bob Strong led a lively and informative discussion of the timely topic: ‘why does college cost so much?’ This issues was the subject of the senior administrative team retreat in August. Among the salient points are that our kind of very personalized and top quality education is, by nature, expensive; that W&L is imposing good discipline on our budget process; and that W&L spends a higher percentage of its budget on students and faculty than many of our peers.

V.P. of Student Affairs Sidney Evans highlighted the many items on her plate, including women’s leadership, relationships with local police, a gathering of former student body EC leaders and the current EC, Greek Life, and how successfully we are housing 498 students, the largest first year class in W&L’s history!

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Bill Hartog reported on  an extraordinary year of 6,400 applications for the anticipated 475 places in the Class of 2015. More students than expected accepted our offers of admissions, fewer changed their minds over the summer, and we had a wonderfully high yield on the offers we made for the Johnson Scholarships, enrolling 53 of them this year!

Almost 50 class agents, the backbone of our Annual Fund, met to discuss strategies and to celebrate a landmark achievement. Gifts to the Annual Fund and other areas of the University (or other University priorities) by 9,057 undergraduate donors contributed to a record 50 participation rate in giving to W&L. GO GENERALS!

Class Agents on the front steps of Lee House.

Reunion giving awards were presented as follows:

The Bierer Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1939; 1961-1999: Class of 1969, Scott Fechnay and Ray Hartwell; Young Alumni:Class of 2007, Camille Allen, Corbin Blackford, Meghan Freeman, and Walker Williams

The Richmond Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1955,David Berlinghof; 1963-2001 – Class of 1967, Bob Priddy; Young Alumni: Class of 2002 – Darby Berra, Alicia Brandt, Courtenay Fisher, and Elizabeth Kelsey.

The Washington Trophy – Five Star Generals: Class of 1959,  – David Meese; 1963-2001 – Class of 1969, Scott Fechnay and Ray Hartwell; Young Alumni – Class of 2002 – Darby Berra, Alicia Brandt, Courtenay Fisher, and Elizabeth Kelsey

The Trident Trophy – Class of 1981, Chip Nunley.

The John Newton Thomas Trophy and the Colonnade Cup – Class of 1981 – Chip Nunley, Ross Newell and Jamie Small.

VP for Advancement Dennis Cross helps Alumni Board President Jamie Small ’81 hold all the trophies his class won.

The alumni board met to continue its focus on building and supporting healthy local chapters and securing broader alumni engagement. The chapter leaders received training and met with the alumni board member assigned to their chapter to discuss programming and leadership succession.

Larry Boetsch ’69 sharing his vision for global learning at W&L with members of the Alumni Board and Chapter leaders.

These alumni chapters and their presidents were honored as the ‘best of the best’ by winning 2010-11 Chapter of the Year awards for outstanding leadership and successful events:

Division 1: Washington D.C., Ryan Duffy ’04

Division 2: Northern New Jersey, Joe Ciccone ’93 Law
Division 3: South Carolina Piedmont (Greenville), Helen Sanders ’04

Division 4: Bluegrass (Lexington KY), Jim Clifton ’86.

Division 5: Oklahoma City, Bill Towler ’81.

Meanwhile, the 5th   (159 alumni ) and 10th( 116 alumni ) reunion classes led a spirited young alumni contingent. A new record for participation in the 5th reunion class gift was set with 62% of the class making a gift, and more than $74,000 was raised for the University. The Class of 2001 also set a new record for total class gift for a 10th reunion. They committed more than $400,000 to the University in 2010-2011 and over the next four years.

From the DJ party at Liberty Hall Ruins on Friday night to the slightly rain-shortened but high-energy Virginia Wine Tasting and BBQ on the front lawn Saturday, spirits were high and college friendships were deepened. Many Greek houses hosted alumni functions. Jennifer Strawbridge, ’01, an Episcopal clergy and the Chaplain of Keble College at Oxford University, was honored with a Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

The Sons of Bill making music on the Front Lawn.

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