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The Greyhound

Senior gift creates springboard for student philanthropy

With Senior 200s now behind them, the members of the class of 2014 grow nearer to graduation, adopting the title “alumni” when they earn their degrees. Until then, these Greyhounds have some time left to think about how they want to leave their mark on the school they called home for the last four years.

The senior gift is a longstanding tradition at Loyola, encouraging the soon-to-be alumni to give back to the school, as well as reflect on the time they spent here. Established in the 1980s, the class gift has evolved. Emilie Linsenmeyer, annual giving officer for student programs, explained that, while the donation used to be made in the form of a physical gift, that has changed in recent years.

“The last physical gift to the university was from the Class of 2008. The classes of 2009, 2010 and 2011 all provided some type of scholarship support,” said Linsenmeyer. “In 2012 the structure changed allowing seniors to reflect back on what has meant the most to them and give back directly to that school or program or scholarship.”

This individualization of the senior gift allows each student to reflect upon his or her time at Loyola and choose to give back to the aspect that affected him or her most. Each senior is encouraged to choose a department or organization and make a donation in hopes of supporting future projects and future students.

Senior Kerry Rogers, co-chair of the Senior Gift Committee, said, “All of us have been impacted by a donation to Loyola in some way, whether through the scholarship fund, doing service through CCSJ, or opportunities provided by academic departments that would not have been possible without donations. Giving back to Loyola continues your connection to the University after your time as a student is over.”

Linsenmeyer explained that U.S. News and World Report and other similar rankings use the percentage of alumni who give back to an institution as an “indicator of their satisfaction” in the institution. In 2012-2013, only 14 percent of alumni donated to the Loyola. Comparable Jesuit and Patriot League schools have significantly higher numbers; College of the Holy Cross, for example, boasts 52 percent of alumni who donate. Linsenmeyer said, “Giving back not only strengthens the institution for current students, it also heightens the value of any graduate’s degree.”

The problem lies in that donations make up a large part of funding for the University. Tuition, Linsenmeyer said, only covers about 75 percent of the “true cost of a Loyola education;” the other 25 percent comes from donations.

The Office of Annual giving, Linsenmeyer said, has “several initiatives aimed at opening the conversation about philanthropy earlier in a student’s career at Loyola,” including the Student Philanthropy Council. Cultivating a mindset of giving early on will encourage students to continue to give post-grad. “Hopefully, giving back will be a positive, meaningful experience that seniors will remember as young alumni and want to continue the tradition they began as a student throughout their lives,” said Linsenmeyer.

Kimberly Porfido, co-chair of the Senior Gift Committee, said, “In giving back to Loyola and encouraging others to give back to Loyola is the highest way of saying ‘thanks for an incredible four years, here’s to an incredible four years for all those who come after me.’”

Additional information about the senior gift and a link for members of the class of 2014 to donate online can be found at

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Senior gift creates springboard for student philanthropy