All in for Wesleyan exceeds goals

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Rebekah Smith

The majority of Illinois Wesleyan University students have scholarships, and to ensure that the university is able to have funds to provide scholarships, IWU hosted the second “All in for Wesleyan,” a fundraiser that contributes to scholarships and resources for Illinois Wesleyan.  In just one day, current and alumni Titans were able to raise more than $700,000.

“The individual donors were allowed to designate their gifts (if they wished to do so) to whatever program or area of campus that was most important to them.  The default, however, if the donor did not indicate a preference for his or her gift, was to support the student financial aid and scholarship budget,” said IWU President Richard Wilson. “We are still processing gifts and don’t know exactly how much money was designated by donors for different uses on campus.  However, it is safe to assume that 60-70 percent of the gifts received will be used for scholarship purposes.”

The challenge kicked off when long-time friends and supporters, the Egbers family of Bloomington, promised to match the Titans with $250,000 if students and faculty could raise $250,000 from other sources.

“Gary Egbers was a 1972 graduate of IWU and served as an IWU Trustee until his untimely death in 2004 as a result of an airplane accident,” said Wilson. “Jan Egbers (Gary’s widow), their daughter Lori and their son, Aaron Egbers, a 1998 graduate of IWU, have continued the long relationship.  The Egbers family has been very generous scholarship donors for many years.”

Events were set up to promote school spirit beginning with a midnight “Dub After Dark” pep rally at Shirk Center with over 500 students in attendance.

“With the spontaneity, spirit, and of course free pizza and t-shirts, Titan spirit filled the floor minutes before midnight,” said Student Senate President Austin Aldag. “It is truly exciting to see this spirit-filled shift in our culture on campus.”

“The way the campus community, especially students, rallied around the day was critically important.  We all know students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends love Illinois Wesleyan…so this day was about providing a forum for them to express their deep affinity for the school,” said Wilson. “We wanted it to be a fun, celebratory atmosphere on campus to recognize the role donor support plays in our students’ lives, and I think that’s just the way it turned out.”

At 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 2, elected contestants gathered in the Dugout for the Wesleyan Wing challenge.  $12,380 was raised with 238 wings eaten.

Throughout the day various alumni promised to make donations if a certain number of donors gave.  At 10:00 a.m. Howard and Sharon Fricke from the class of 1960 offered to give $25,000 if 600 gifts were made, and this goal was reached by 1:00 p.m.  John Horton from the class of 1982 and his wife Joann offered to give $25,000 if 1,000 gifts came in, which was accomplished in less than two hours.

 

Laura Randolph Oakey from the class of 1992 and her husband Jerry offered a gift of $50,000 if 100 more donations were made within the hour.  By 4:00 p.m. more than 1,100 gifts totaling more than $300,000 exceeded the Egbers challenge.

One more large challenge was made when an anonymous alum from the class of 1987 promised to donate $100,000 if there were 1,850 donors by midnight.  After the 1,500 gift mark, Jack Dickens from the class of 1986 offered to give $50 for each of the next 300 donors.

The All in for Wesleyan Challenge brought approximately 2,000 gifts, and the university raised more than $700,000 in just 24 hours.  Last year was the first All in for Wesleyan campaign, where $480,000 was raised.

“All in for Wesleyan is a great way for IWU to raise funds that are so crucial to student success at IWU. When companies and organizations see how much Titan alumni value Wesleyan, they are more apt to donate to us as well,” said senior Brianna Yarwood. “It completes a cycle of giving that helps so many of us receive a degree from IWU.”