Senior class has donated almost $4,000

The senior gift has reached 52% of the $7,500 goal with only one week left in the school year

Grace Mamon

With one week left in the academic year, the Class of 2022 has raised $3,931 for the annual senior gift – or 52% toward the $7,500 goal.

Participation has reached 28% of the senior class, with 121 donors, according to Missy Witherow, senior director of annual giving. This is as of May 13. The campaign has been working toward 50% class participation.

The senior gift is one of the initiatives of the Office of Annual Giving, which raises money for the Annual Fund.

“The Annual Fund fills the gap where tuition ends and endowment starts,” said Abby Gilbert, assistant director of annual giving. “It’s a crucial piece of the university budget each year.”

Annual Fund money supplements spring term study abroad trips, reduces tuition for every student, and supports student athletes, among other things, Gilbert said.

“I hope seniors are motivated to give out of gratitude for an aspect of their W&L experience,” she said. “Senior gift is a long-standing W&L tradition as a way to say thanks and leave a class legacy.”

However, there is still quite a way to go to meet the 50% class participation and $7,500 goal, with not much time left in the year.

McKenzie Napier, ’22, one of the senior representatives responsible for garnering donations, said this year was a “mixed bag” as far as enthusiasm for donating.

Many of her peers told her they didn’t want to donate because of the experience they had at Washington and Lee during the pandemic, she said.  

 “A lot of students who had really bad experiences and are now being asked to donate money to the school, they just don’t want to,” Napier said.

But it’s important for the school to have senior donors because this can curate donors for the future, she said.

“One of the things they always emphasize to us, is that it’s important for students to start giving now, because that sets them up to continue giving,” Napier said.

She said despite hesitation to donate among some students, Napier said she thinks the senior gift is an important initiative.

“We’ve all benefited from everyone else before us that’s donated,” Napier said. “I think it’s important to continue that trend so that future students can have those opportunities that we’ve had…It’s important that we step up and do our part as well.”