Message from the Campaign Chair: February 2017

William & Mary turned 324 years old over Charter Day Weekend and there was a great deal of excitement as alumni, students, parents, faculty and friends converged on campus to celebrate this annual tradition. On Saturday afternoon, thunderous cheers echoed all around Kaplan Arena after the men’s basketball team triumphed over Charleston.

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of officially unveiling Affording Opportunity as the name of our $350 million scholarships effort in our campaign. Through this newly named effort, we aim to inspire the entire William & Mary community to invest in scholarships so that extraordinary students can afford the opportunity to attend our prestigious and revered institution. Affording Opportunity has already started making an appearance in signage around campus and will be in our campaign materials, on the For the Bold website and highlighted in almost every event we hold so that we can reinforce our No. 1 priority in everything we do.

Since the start of the campaign, more than $212 million has been raised for scholarships — through gifts of all sizes — helping thousands of high-caliber students pursue their passions without burden and allowing the university to build a vibrant community of diverse perspectives. This year alone, nearly 1,500 students have received scholarships to attend W&M thanks to the generosity of donors who believe in the transformational impact of scholarships.

As campaign chair, I know firsthand that in order to inspire the community to give to this area, we must make a strong and compelling case for support. To help do this, we will continue to share impactful stories of current students and alumni who benefited from scholarships. And you can bet that there is no shortage of stories about the many ways scholarships gifts can change lives.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Vitaliy Humenyuk ’17 was born and raised in Ukraine and became a U.S. citizen shortly after coming to William & Mary on scholarship. As a double major in European and German Studies, Humenyuk chose W&M because of the diversity of faculty and students, the variety in course offerings as well as individualized attention students receive from professors. He said that his scholarship has impacted his life immeasurably and that the university has given him a strong sense of belonging to this country. Humenyuk credits his citizenship and the education he has received at W&M as reasons why he has even greater opportunities to give back to the university, the community and the nation. After he graduates, he plans to continue his academic studies so that he can become an international lawyer. Check out a video about his story here.
  • Jeff Trammell ’73 received a basketball scholarship to attend W&M and says he likely wouldn’t have been a part of the Tribe family without it. Trammell excelled in the classroom and on the court. He went on to star as captain of the team and was named all-conference in 1972. Over the span of several decades, he worked for many members of the U.S. Congress, helping to advance policies that impact the lives of millions of Americans. Trammell was rector of the university from 2011-2013 and has lent so much of his time and talent to various W&M boards and committees. Trammell is a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community, spends a lot of his downtime reigniting President Monroe’s legacy (through service at Monroe’s historic Highland home) while also running his own public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he is a distinguished recipient of the 2017 Alumni Medallion Award, which was bestowed to him over Charter Day Weekend.
  • W&M Scholar Ellery Lea ’18 said the generosity of donors has been transformative in her life. Lea, one of four children, was raised in Northern California by parents who are small business owners and who wouldn’t have been able to fund her education without the help of scholarships. A French major, Lea said she was deciding between William & Mary and U.Va. and ultimately decided to attend W&M because of the competitive scholarships package offered to her by the school. She is incredibly thankful to scholarships donors who make gifts that change lives and serve as financial passports to fulfilling dreams.

There is so much more news to report, including the fact that we have four alumni who have so graciously volunteered to lead For the Bold in the Washington, D.C., metro area:

• Lynn Melzer Dillon ’75

• Teri Dale Dungan ’88

• Thomas Dungan III ’88

• Jeffrey Trammell ’73

Check out the story about what inspired them to lead efforts where nearly 51,000 alumni, parents and friends currently reside.

Here are a few stories featured in this edition of the campaign e-newsletter:

I hope you enjoy reading about all the great recent William & Mary news. As always, please let me know if you ever have any questions.

Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76
Campaign Chair, For the Bold