The Campaign for Marist: 
Senior Class Raises Record Amount

Marist College Class of 2009 Senior Class Gift Committee

The Senior Class Gift Committee consisted of (left to right) Erik Zeyher, Caitlin Hopkins, Katelin McCahill, co-chair Julie Lavin, Susie Gagnon, co-chair Justin Ritz, and (not pictured) Stephanie Espina.

The Class of 2009 made history through its participation in what has become a tradition at Marist - the Senior Class Gift. The class raised nearly $6,000 from 450 seniors, almost double the results of any other Senior Class Gift program in College history.

As part of the tradition, graduating seniors make their first gift to the College through a donation to the Marist Fund. "It's the ultimate way to repay Marist for all the amazing things that have happened during our four years here," says Justin Ritz '09, who co-chaired the Senior Class Gift Committee.
The committee kicked off its campaign in November with a wine and cheese reception in the Tenney Stadium hospitality suite. About 110 seniors got their first glimpse inside the stadium's "skyboxes" and heard about wine tasting from Lisa McGovern, catering manager for Marist Dining Services.

Next the committee followed the lead of previous gift committees with a networking get-together for seniors and Marist alumni. More than 100 Marist seniors and alumni, who came from all over the Northeast, gathered at the McCann Recreation Center in February for the fourth annual Senior Class and Alumni Networking Reception.

Paul Palmer '84, a producer at ESPN, was happy to share his experience with eager sports communication and radio/TV/film students. "When I was at Marist, one of the great things I remember was the way the school always had alumni return to talk to us about the industry, our majors, and more," he says. "I found those experiences to be invaluable, which is why I am happy to support these types of networking events. If I can help any of today's students, I'm simply carrying on a great Marist tradition."

After positive feedback from the kickoff event at Tenney Stadium, the committee decided to host another campaign event there. In mid-April nearly 100 seniors turned out for a sports-themed beer tasting.

Another venue on campus the seniors were anxious to visit before graduation was the newly refurbished historic Cornell Boathouse. A sold-out crowd of 80 seniors met there in late April to learn about pairing desserts with wines while raising money for the Senior Class Gift program.
The committee also created a T-shirt to sell as a fundraiser. The T-shirt could be seen all over campus during Senior Week.

The activities provided a way for committee members to educate fellow classmates about the importance of continuing their philanthropic support following graduation, says Julie Lavin '09, committee co-chair and Class of 2009 president. "These graduates now understand how their resources were provided in large part from the generosity of the alumni who came before them. Now their gifts will help provide exceptional experiences, facilities, and scholarships for the future classes of Marist students."