Vice President Reports on Increases in Institutional Support

To the Saint Mary's Campus Community,

I am pleased to report that the College raised almost $7 million (cash in the door) during the first six months of the fiscal year, the highest first half total in the past 5 years, due to the influx of new capital dollars. Gifts toward academic areas and athletics performed well; at the same time, gifts for scholarships and unrestricted purposes lagged behind our goal. Alumni giving is up 41 percent over the previous year, which is the highest first-half total in four years. Thanks to our robust telemarketing programs, gifts and pledges by phone have more than doubled from the same period last year. The average gift has jumped by 50 percent, and pledge fulfillment is running more than 10 percent ahead of previous years. We expect the best year ever for gifts raised by telephone.

This time of year, Advancement is all over the map! After a series of well-attended Christmas parties in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Sacramento, we are hosting a number of events regionally during the winter months. The largest gathering outside the U.S. this year was in Tokyo, where some 50 alumni came together for a multi-generational reunion in December. In January, events were held in Denver and Washington, D.C. This month, alumni and friends will gather in Seattle to hear author Mary Volmer '01 MFA '05, director of the Honors Program, share excerpts from her critically acclaimed debut novel, "Crown of Dust." Mary will do an encore performance in Reno in late March. We will also host events for the College's donors in Orange County and Las Vegas.

One important step in donor stewardship is having students who receive donor-funded scholarships write thank-you notes. After Thanksgiving, the Advancement office e-mailed 300 undergraduate scholarship recipients, asking them to attend a brief drop-in session to write a note to their donor(s). Through the end of Jan Term, about 60 percent of the students had completed the assignment. We will continue our efforts to reach the remaining students beginning today. If you know students who have received a donor-funded scholarship, ask them if they have written their note. If they haven't, please send them to the Grants Office in Brother Jerome West Hall, room 138.

The Latino Alumni Chapter held its first meeting in December. They identified four key goals: social gatherings and networking, continued education, student support and involvement, and philanthropy to the College. The primary driver behind this group is alumni board member Gabe Ramirez '85, assisted with enthusiasm by Omar Zazueta ‘'03, Brother Camillus Chavez and Brother Michael Avila. If you would like to recommend alumni for the chapter, contact Chris Carter.

Mary Torrey Dooms, wife of the late Bill Dooms '39, had been a longtime fan of the Hearst Art Gallery. When Mary passed away in November, she left the bulk of her Arizona estate to the gallery. Anticipated to be worth just under $1 million, the estate will help fund the gallery's plans for additional space, programs and endowment. Many alumni and friends designate estate gifts to the College in their wills. If you would like to speak with a development officer about this process, please contact Lisa Moore.

In November, I created a new position of corporate giving officer and appointed Susan Dittmann to that post. Susan had joined us as a major gifts officer in August, but we soon discovered that her extensive business network positioned her well for this new role. Joining the Grants Office under the direction of Elizabeth Gallagher, Susan is responsible for securing corporate funding for campus-wide programs, scholarships and initiatives. She will grow our Corporate Partners Program as well as develop funding strategies and outreach initiatives. Susan has already begun working with Athletics and the Career Center, where corporate relations are well established. To discuss any ideas or contacts in the corporate community, please contact Susan.

It's almost baseball season! And, the 7th Annual Baseball Meet the Players Night, held on January 22, had a banner year as 250 guests joined Head Coach Jedd Soto to meet this year's team and cheer them on as they begin another exciting season. The event raised almost $40,000 to support the team. Gregg Jefferies, a 14-year major league veteran, two-time National League All-Star and Bay Area native, was the keynote speaker. During the same week, the parents of a Saint Mary's student made a $100,000 gift toward the new baseball stadium (more news on that project soon!)

An in-depth alumni survey has been developed to learn opinions and attitudes toward the College, engagement opportunities, employment choices and interests from alumni with undergraduate degrees from Saint Mary's. It will be administered via e-mail to alumni 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years out from graduation. The plan is to administer the survey to a new set of alumni each year. The survey was developed by Sam Agronow, director of Institutional Research. I look forward to sharing the results with you.

The College has ramped up its presence in Washington, D.C., to bolster our success in obtaining grants from public and private sources and collaborating with elected officials. Requests for support have been made to both of California's U.S. senators as well as the College's U.S. House of Representatives member. Our Washington-based consultants are also arranging meetings between College staff members and federal agencies. If you are traveling on business to Washington, please alert Elizabeth Gallagher. You may be able to help secure grants for academic projects.

Last, the Advancement office continues to experience change. During the next seven weeks, two long-serving staff members will be retiring. Bill McLeod, who has served the College in many roles, including 24 years as dean of students/vice president for student affairs and the last 12 in Development, is stepping down after 39 years of service. Joan Goularte, who has been the backbone of the Advancement office for almost 25 years, is also retiring. We thank them for their 64 years of combined service to the College and wish them well in the next phases of their lives.

Thanks for reading!

Keith E. Brant
Vice President for Development