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Drake students give thanks

Last year, Morgan E. Cline, PH’53, the Carver Trust, and Hy-Vee, Inc., led the effort toward the construction of the Cline Atrium with significant donations; the Atrium will provide technologically advanced study spaces for students. The Bob and Kay Riley family donated funds to help replace pianos at the Fine Arts Center. Last fiscal year, donors contributed more than $3.2 million to The Drake Fund, which goes toward supporting scholarships and other immediate needs of the University.

These are just a few examples of how vital giving is to the Drake community. And on Nov. 12–15, the Student Alumni Association (SAA) hosted Philanthropy @ Drake to educate students about these efforts and the extent to which philanthropy affects their time at the University.

“We’re trying to build a culture of philanthropy on the Drake campus,” says Jessica Berger, assistant director of campus and student engagement. “We need to start dispelling the myth that philanthropists have to be rich. Anyone can be a philanthropist, at any level. This knowledge is invaluable, especially for our future alumni.”

Drake students share stickers for good deeds

Daily activities promoted appreciation for the gifts that make the Drake experience possible. On Nov. 13, students participated in the Thank-a-Thon in dining halls over the lunch hour. Grateful undergraduates wrote thank you notes to donors who have made a difference on campus, and shared their gratitude to alumni through the Office of Alumni Twitter account and Facebook page.

The following day, the Philanthropy @ Drake sticker campaign kicked off. Students paid it forward by committing random acts of kindness—holding doors open or lending a helping hand—and then passing out stickers and encouraging their peers to do the same.

Throughout the week, Drake students were encouraged to make a gift to the University. Once again, Bulldogs proved their loyalty by donating about $550; more than 12 percent of students made a gift, surpassing the 12 in 12 goal, which aimed to get 12 percent of the student body to contribute. Because they exceeded the target, Joe Aiello, BN’80, chair of the Drake University National Alumni Board, and his wife, Leslie, FA’79, contributed an additional $12,000 to the Fund; the gift will be designated for scholarships.


The culmination of the week came on Thursday. SAA hosted a Bulldog Party in the Pomerantz Student Union in the Olmsted Center for student donors from the week. About 200 undergraduates spent quality time with Porterhouse and Beautiful Bulldog Tyson and made homemade dog toys for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Drake undergraduates play with a bulldog at the Philanthropy @ Drake celebration

“Without the money I receive from Drake, I wouldn’t be able to come here,” says Maryna Rath, a sophomore public relations major who donated to the Philanthropy @ Drake cause. “I want to give back to Drake because they help me, and I think others should have the same opportunities that I do.”

Philanthropy @ Drake is not just catching the attention of students. The program has received district and national awards, and it was featured on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) website as an innovative and trendsetting student philanthropy program.

“I think our message of ‘student helping students’—because all money raised goes to scholarship support—resonates well with many people,” Berger says. “Students love their Drake experience and want to make it possible for more Bulldogs in the future. Our hope is that by the time they graduate, they will understand that a gift—of any amount—can make a huge impact on the life and sustainable future of the University.”

Visit the Drake Flickr page for more photos from the Bulldog Party.