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Class of 2013 embraces class gift

Reaching graduation is an accomplishment in itself and the Lehigh Class of 2013 has added to their achievements by introducing 108 new members to the Asa Packer Society, well exceeding their goal of 35 Society-level givers. The Asa Packer Society, named for Lehigh’s founder and his philanthropic tradition, honors those who demonstrate committed annual support for Lehigh and engages them with society events across the country throughout the year.

Rosemarie (Rosie) Roessel ’13, vice president of giving of the senior class officers, attributes this success to the generosity of an anonymous donor who has helped the Class of 2013. “Throughout the year the donor matched student gifts three-to-one and because of that, we had a lot of Asa Packer Society members. Normally, that’s $250 that you’d have to donate, but instead it was only $62.50.”

Because the senior class surpassed their Asa Packer Society goal, the anonymous donor has contributed $20,000 to the Senior Class gift. As the campaign ended June 30, 660 seniors contributed $19,842.

This year, 318 students joined the 2013 Club by donating $20.13 or more, and were invited to a champagne toast at the home of Lehigh President Alice P. Gast.

“A lot of people are giving $20.13,” Roessel said. “Most people have really gotten excited about the fact that they can give it to anywhere they want: clubs, academic departments, and sports teams.”

Throughout the year, several giving events were hosted, starting with the opening reception at STEPS in September. Roessel found this event to be particularly important because it introduced the seniors to the significance of giving.

“We gave a presentation at the beginning on reasons to give back. Why you’re giving back, and what it’s doing. That really opened people’s eyes as to what we’re trying to do.”

Other events included a partnership with the Lehigh-Lafayette Challenge, an Asa Packer reception at the Bookstore Speakeasy with special guest Zahir Carrington ’10, forward for the men’s basketball team when the Mountain Hawks competed in the NCAA tournament in Oklahoma City in 2010, and lunches for seniors in the Asa Packer Dining Room.  In addition to events, Roessel and her team found individual outreach to be especially effective, saying, “You can’t say ‘no’ to a hand written note.”

Roessel wanted to spearhead the Senior Class gift because her own Lehigh experience was made possible because of the generosity of students past.  As the recipient of the Class of 1904 Scholarship, Roessel said, “I wouldn’t be here if other people didn’t give back. I have had such a great experience here. This has been the best four years of my life and I just want other people to have the same and better experience as I had.”

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Julia Merz ’12 ’13