Originally published in The Mac Weekly.
Every year, the graduating senior class leaves behind a gift as a token
of appreciation to the school. The Class of 1992 left behind a swing
set; the Class of 2003 fundraised for the installation of a wind
turbine. Since 2009, senior classes have donated their gift to the
This year, the Class of 2012 will once again contribute its
gift to the Annual Fund. However, organizers of the gift struck a
compromise to balance the effectiveness of the donation with the desire
to leave a physical mark on campus.
Like past years, some members of the
Senior Class Gift Committee questioned the decision to donate to the
“There were committee-members who were questioning, ‘Well,
does it have to automatically go to the Annual Fund?’ I did recognize
that we as a class want to leave our mark at this school,” said Kaitlin
Roh ’12, who worked for the Annual Fund during her junior year.
same time, Roh ardently supports the class gift going towards the Annual
“Most of the money [raised by] the Annual Fund goes toward…
faculty staff and benefits. And then the next thing after that are
scholarships. So the top two things I have loved at Macalester are what
the Annual Fund is supporting,” she said.
“Honestly I had mixed feelings
at first because I thought it was going right to the Annual Fund,” said
Colin Westcott ’12, one of 13 members of the Senior Class Gift
Committee. “[But then] I found out where that money in the Annual Fund
goes to. It made sense because it goes into giving people the same
opportunity I had, especially just with the general money that is needed
to run the facilities and also just giving back to the students
Ultimately, a compromise was brokered.
“Here’s the deal,” the
Senior Class Gift Committee wrote in an opinions piece in The Mac
Weekly last week. “If 55 percent of our 442-member class (a new
participation record) donates any amount to the Annual Fund, a student
space in the new Janet Wallace Fine Arts Building will be named after
the Class of 2012.”
The idea emerged from a November meeting between
representatives of the senior class and Tommy Bonner, Vice President of
“They (Mac McCreary ’12 and Kaitlin Roh ’12) shared their
sense that members of the senior class had two characteristics they felt
were important in the senior gift drive,” Bonner explained in an email.
“First was something tangible to mark and remember their time at
Macalester. Secondly, they wanted the focus to be on participation of
members of the class in the gift and recognize that each graduate’s
contribution is important regardless of the size of the gift.”
participation rate of 55 percent among the senior class would be the
record for any class in Macalester history. Thus far, 12% of seniors
have donated to the gift, a higher rate of participation at this point
in March than previous years.
The opportunity to name a lounge in the
new music building was something of a coup for the senior class.
figured it’s the best of both worlds,” said Anna Min ’09, Associate
Director of the Annual Fund and the administration’s liaison to the
Senior Class Gift Committee. “Why would we build something that we don’t
know will be [around in] 30 years, will require maintenance, someone
will have to upkeep it every week?”
Normally, naming a room in a
building comes with a steep price tag- $50,000, according to Min.
However, the Class of 2012 was awarded the opportunity to attach its
name to the lounge as an incentive to donate.
Donating to the class gift
comes with other perks. Students can honor an individual professor with
their gift, listing the chosen professor and senior in the final issue
of The Mac Weekly and on the reverse of the Commencement Events
schedule. Further, the honored professor will receive a card noting the
contribution. Members of the Senior Class Gift Committee stress giving
back to the investment Macalester makes in students.
“I feel like it’s
not well-known among the student body that, even if you are paying the
full sticker cost of $52,000, you are not actually paying the full price
of what it pays to educate you,” Roh said. “There is $16,000 on top of
that to create the entire Macalester experience for every student. So in
a sense, your whole tuition is subsidized $64,000 for your four years
here without you ever even knowing it.”
“I’ve been telling all of my
friends that if you get a six-pack of beer on the weekends, [then] you
can give up the six-pack of beer and give to the Senior Class Gift
Committee,” Westcott said.
While the Senior Class Gift Committee
recommends a donation of $20.12, gifts can be as large or small as
desired. The committee hopes to maximize the number of participants
rather than the size of the gift. “We’re all seniors- we’re not trying
to break the bank here.” Min said. “The whole point is getting people
excited and aware about what is going on and what it takes to run a
college. It’s not free… We have to support the next generation that’s