Class of 2012 leaves UChicago a record-setting Senior Class Gift

Before graduating, the Class of 2012 gave back to the University in a grand way through the Senior Class Gift, with more participants than ever before and a total of more than $60,000 raised for the College Fund.

“This has been an extraordinary effort,” said Dean John W. Boyer, who accepted the gift with President Robert J. Zimmer during a June 8 reception at the Museum of Science and Industry. “It is gratifying to see such energetic work on behalf of the College.  All of us on the faculty are very proud of these efforts and delighted to welcome the Class of 2012 to the community of College alumni."

The museum celebration capped a yearlong effort by students to show their ongoing commitment to the academic ideals of the College. While the class gift was sometimes used in the past to fund commemorative markers on campus, classes over the past 10 years have chosen to give directly to the College Fund. Their gift supports many of the College’s funding needs related to student life, including financial aid and scholarships, internships, and student activities.

“The Senior Class Gift is a wonderful way to unite the students to feel excited and empowered around their graduation,” said Sara Diehr, AB’12, co-chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee, who received her degree in Political Science at Convocation on June 9.

Throughout the academic year, she and co-chair Shola Farber led the Senior Class Gift Committee in asking their friends to contribute a symbolic gift of $20.12, or any amount that they could, in honor of their class. Along with the 80 people on the committee—the largest number of volunteers ever—they got an overwhelmingly positive response from their classmates.

Diehr had a straightforward pitch: “The gift will subsidize the educational opportunities and improve the lives of future University of Chicago graduates.”

With 940 students giving to the fund, this year had the largest number yet of students who took part in the class gift. The participation rate of 80 percent was just shy of the record of 81 percent, set by the Class of 2010.

People were invited to text their gifts, give online, or even hand money directly to committee members during senior week activities. Some donations came in the night of June 8, just as the committee started writing numbers on the check for the dean and president.

Alumnus John Fyfe, AB ’68, MBA ’76, and Trustee James Crown had challenged the class of 2012 by adding their own donations as the number of participants rose above 50 percent and 75 percent.

Senior Class Gift committee member Shuvani Sanyal, AB’12, who received her degree in International Studies, said the gift was a concrete way to help others benefit from the kind of education she received at UChicago. Sanyal noted that she was a Metcalf Fellow, studied abroad, participated in numerous student organizations on campus, and used the resources of Career Advising and Planning Services—all of which get money from the College Fund.

“I could not have come here if it weren’t for the College Fund,” Sanyal said.