William & Mary celebrated its For the Bold campaign in Atlanta last night as the university’s colors lit the sky in honor of more than 23,630 alumni, parents and friends in the Southeast region.
A large contingent of the university's most loyal friends and supporters gathered at the High Museum of Art to support William & Mary’s most ambitious campaign in its 325-year history. During the event, several prominent landmarks — the King and Queen Towers and the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel in Centennial Park — shone brightly in green and gold. These lightings come on the heels of others, including the Empire State Building, the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and the National Portrait Gallery — a new William & Mary tradition that ignites Tribe Pride around the globe.
In remarks at the event, For the Bold Campaign Chair Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76 reinforced that all three campaign goals — strengthened alumni engagement, 40 percent alumni participation and $1 billion — are all interconnected and vital for the university and its people to rise to new heights.
"We need our alumni and the entire Tribe community engaged like never before. We need them to wear their green and gold proudly, to come back to campus often, to mentor and support our students and to help shape the future of our great university,” said Gerdelman. "Equally important, we need our alumni, parents and friends to renew their support each and every year and to encourage their own William & Mary networks to do the same. When alumni engagement is strengthened and participation rises, they create a powerful force that greatly benefits our personal and professional lives. These goals also help increase the value of a William & Mary degree.”
Gerdelman also highlighted the far reaching impact of the campaign since it began and how students, faculty, staff, coaches, parents and alumni are experiencing firsthand the power of robust engagement and philanthropy. Since the beginning of the campaign, nearly 6,000 students have been provided with the opportunity to thrive at William & Mary because of scholarship support, 25 professorships and 17 coaching positions have been funded and 60 pieces of state-of-the-art science equipment for innovative faculty/student research have been purchased all because of private support. These are only a few examples of how the campaign is benefiting the people of William & Mary.
During the evening, President Taylor Reveley introduced alumna Pippin Saunders ’16, who received a scholarship to attend William & Mary and play Division I Field Hockey. In his remarks, Reveley emphasized that the university falls short in providing support for our students, particularly out-of-state students, and for this reason scholarships are the top priority in the campaign.
“To ensure that a William & Mary education remains within the financial reach of every student whom we admit, each one carefully chosen from an enormously able body of applicants, we must dramatically increase scholarship support,” said Reveley. “Scholarships are powerful; they change lives for the better. And not just for our students but also for their families and communities. Often for their states and nation."
Since the start of the For the Bold campaign, more than $736 million has been raised, including nearly $235 million for scholarships. William & Mary has also secured its standing as the No. 1 nationally ranked public university for undergraduate alumni participation and has significantly strengthened its alumni engagement efforts. From career and networking events and affinity-based engagement opportunities to William & Mary Weekend and so much more, alumni around the world now have access to more top-quality events and programming than ever before.
“William & Mary is a point of pride for all of us. When people see our résumé and see a William & Mary degree they often say ‘you got a great education,’” said Fred Henritze ’76, co-chair of For the Bold in the Southeast region and resident of Atlanta. “The great thing about William & Mary is that while we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we also all share a common bond of perseverance, hard work and commitment to bettering ourselves, our communities and the world."
The university has set a goal of securing $70 million in the Southeast region and needs to inspire more than 2,900 undergraduate alumni in the region to give back annually to reach 40 percent alumni participation by 2020. William & Mary plans to offer even more splendid engagement opportunities for alumni, parents and friends in states spanning the Southeast.
Henritze joins five other alumni, including David Eklund ’82, from Naples, Fla., Tom Hollowell ’65, J.D. ’68, M.L.T. ’69, from Charlotte, N.C., Julee Wallace Kaplan ’90, M.Ed. ’94 and Jim Kaplan M.B.A. ’92, from Pickens, S.C., and Brooke Trible Weinmann ’79, from Atlanta, in chairing the Southeast regional campaign.
Saunders, the former scholarship recipient who now resides in Raleigh, N.C., left the crowd inspired. She said, “When I go home, my family and I still reflect on the incredible gift that has been given to me. It is true that one person made my experience at William & Mary possible, but it took a whole Tribe to make my time at William & Mary the most memorable experience of my life. I know that one day I will give back as many opportunities as I have been given for future generations.”
To learn how you can make an impact, visit FortheBold.wm.edu.