The College’s strategic plan calls us to “Strengthen Foundations in Affordability” and alumni, parents, foundations, corporations, friends, and all other donors have responded. In the 2014-15 fiscal year the College raised more than $4.5 million for merit and need-based scholarships for our students. This includes $3.4 million for endowed scholarship support, which provides ongoing support for years to come. Much of this scholarship support was realized through generous legacy gifts, which highlight the value of those who remember the College in their estate plans.
In addition to our efforts on addressing affordability at Saint Mary’s, I am pleased to share the following highlights from 2014-15: The College witnessed a record-breaking year for donor participation! An impressive 8,577 donors made gifts to the College––an increase from 7,319 in 2013-14. The number of Saint Mary's alumni donors increased by 17 percent at a time when national alumni participation is declining. In addition, we had more than 940 first-time alumni donors make a gift, a huge accomplishment for any university.
This past spring we launched 1Day1SMC, a 24-hour giving challenge that invited all those connected to the College to participate by making a gift. You answered our call! I am delighted to report that we exceeded all expectations: On March 25, 1,642 donors participated, including many students and more than 200 faculty and staff. It was a momentous day with impressive results we look forward to surpassing in spring 2016.
In addition to our philanthropic achievements we also shared with each of you many important celebrations. On March 12, we celebrated the many generous donors who contributed to the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center with a dedication and blessing of the new 60,000-square-foot fitness facility and home to Campus Recreation. The facility was alive with activity—students were on the climbing wall, in the weight center, on fitness equipment, and in the pool—as guests streamed into the double gymnasium for the ceremony. The consensus of the 300 people in attendance was that the spectacular new center was worth the wait.
Our alumni engagement and donor stewardship efforts this year invited guests of all ages to celebrate Saint Mary’s College through a myriad of activities and events. We thanked our generous donors at our annual 1863 Society and President’s Circle Christmas party in San Francisco, we hosted a Women in Federal Public Service summit, launched the new Music on the Lawn in May to invite our newest alumni back to campus as well as to connect with all local alumni and friends, and we welcomed more than 400 alumni home to campus for Reunion Weekend. Over the next 10 years we will work towards a goal of having more than 50 percent of our alumni truly engaged with the College—an ambitious goal that will be driven by loyalty, connection, and philanthropy.
As we embark on the 2015-16 fiscal year, I am grateful for the generous support of all those who participated as volunteers, event attendees, and donors this past year. It is because of you that Saint Mary’s College continues to provide a life-defining education to those who enter our doors. Our goals for the year ahead are ambitious. We will finalize funding for the renovation of McKeon Pavilion and the Student-Athlete Performance Center; we will continue to seek additional support for scholarships for our students; and we will invite more alumni and donors to participate in the life of the College through volunteering, attending events, and through philanthropic participation.
Together, we will strive to meet the goals of the College’s strategic plan and to support the students who are entrusted to us. It is critical for the success of the College to continue driving support to unrestricted purposes while also raising funds for scholarship. It is our honor to serve the College and to be good stewards of your generous support.
We look forward to another prosperous year and we hope to connect with each and every one of you over the course of the 2015-16 year!