The Online Edition

Giving Back – Spring 2020

It Takes Two – Wilkes and You!

Inaugural Giving Day Sets Record for Supporting Wilkes

A record number of Colonels rallied to make Wilkes University’s inaugural Giving Day a tremendous success, setting a new record for contributions to University programs made in a single day. The event brought the entire Wilkes community together in the virtual world and turned social media channels blue and gold. Held on 2-20-2020, the day rallied participants around the theme “It Takes Two – Wilkes and You!”

A 24-hour online effort to support initiatives most important to alumni and friends of the University, Giving Day featured stories and videos from deans, coaches, and students. It encouraged all members of the Wilkes community to recognize specific experiences which had a profound impact on their lives —  perhaps an academic department, student life, student scholarships, the library, innovations in laboratories and classrooms or one of the 23 athletic teams.  Alumni also were encouraged to  contribute in honor of someone who had a notable impact on their Wilkes experience, such as a professor, mentor, coach, staff member, or classmate. These stories were passed along to the recipients of those accolades.

More than 530 members of the Wilkes University community, including alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends, participated raising in excess of $92,000 in support of dozens of areas of campus. Gifts ranged from $5 to $5,000, and each one added to the day’s momentum and success. The totals include challenge funds generously donated by loyal alumni. The challenge funds unlocked a total of $2020.00 in each of 10  areas when the goal of donors was met. 

Leilani Hall ’68 explains why she chose to be one of the challenge donors. “I chose to be the challenge donor for the Farley Library for several reasons, but mostly for the fond memories of spending so much time in Kirby when it was our library. The silence and accessible resources helped me focus on my studies when my dorm was full of distractions,” Hall says. 

“After graduation, I found a job in my field – chemistry – and became the one assigned to library research. I’ve since practiced science librarianship at five universities with my chemistry degree from Wilkes being a door-opener. It served me well when advocating for and supporting teaching faculty in the sciences, making sure the necessary resources were available for their own research and that of their students. Yet, when it comes to fund raising, alumni often support their college or major, not the library. Life-long learning takes place in libraries and they all deserve our support.”

Giving Day 2020 set a new record for giving participation in 24 hours.  “We are extremely appreciative of the tremendous display of generosity and pride by so many on Giving Day.  Clearly we will look forward to the good spirited competition inherent in this one day challenge as we move to make Wilkes Giving Day and annual event,” says Dr. Paul Adams, interim president.

Athletics topped the leaderboards for number of donors at 217, while student scholarships led in the most dollars raised with $27,101. The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences surpassed other academic divisions with both the most donors – 51 — and dollars raised with $6,809. Graduates of the last decade dominated collectively as donors, with 35% of the total Giving Day donors being graduates from class years of 2000 through 2019.

Wilkes thanks all of its alumni and friends for being a part of the day and embodying its theme, “It Takes Two, Wilkes & You!”  Stay tuned for Giving Day 2021.

Pitching in to help on Giving Day are members of the women’s soccer team, from left: Lexi Gaetano, Niamh (Neeve) Harkins and Taylor Reiff.