Yesterday was a big fundraising day at Wabash. Various alumni pledged to give $43,000 if 430 donations to Wabash were met on 4/30. The day was quite the success, with the 430 donation mark being blown out of the water. Coincidentally, or maybe not so, 1,832 gifts to the college were made. These gifts totaled over $450,000. That’s a big chunk of change. You can read President Hess’ thankful email below:
Those two words cannot adequately express my sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support of the College’s first-ever, one-day giving challenge, 430 on 4/30. Other, larger institutions have held similar events that were driven entirely by email and social media with good outcomes. I had no idea how mightily the Wabash community would respond to the challenge.
Now just 10 months on the job as President, my education at Wabash College — learning about the men and women who make up this great institution — took a giant leap forward.
We asked you to make 430 gifts that would be matched at $100 apiece thanks to a generous $43,000 matching challenge from a handful of alumni leaders. Just over four hours into our Stand TALL for Wabash campaign, we had eclipsed that goal. By lunchtime we had reached 1,100 gifts and secured a second $43,000 match. We knew then that we should train our sights on something truly outstanding: 1,832 gifts in a single day, honoring this College’s long and proud history of philanthropy, which dates to our founding. Shortly before 9:00 p.m., I received word that we had reached that audacious goal and gifts were still coming in.
Perhaps as inspiring were the number of affinity challenges that grew organically during the day. By the time I shut off my computer, more than 30 individuals and groups had stepped up to challenge their friends, colleagues, and classmates to make a gift in support of our efforts.
While our precise totals will not be known for a few days (thanks largely to all of those affinity gifts), I can say that the Wabash nation far exceeded our expectations. The College received more than 2,100 gifts and secured three $43,000 challenge grants for a total of more than $450,000 in just one day. Those would be astonishing numbers for a school four times the size of Wabash. For a College with just over 9,000 graduates and 12,000 alumni, they are astronomic figures and worthy of our highest praise.
As I have traveled with my wife Lora to meet alumni all across the country, I have been inspired by your stories about how Wabash changed your lives. Seeing you respond to our one-day giving challenge — watching you Stand TALL for Wabash — helped me fully understand the depth of gratitude, loyalty, and love for Wabash that so many of you feel. Your gifts further inspire me to lead this institution boldly forward in the years ahead, and have helped me understand the true meaning of Wabash Always Fights!
As we rocketed past the last challenge I issued Wednesday evening — 1,832 gifts — I was reminded of President Elihu Baldwin’s challenge in his 1836 inaugural address: “Our purpose is, never to rest while Wabash College shall lack any advantages for the student, which are offered by the highest class of American colleges.” Imagine the audacity of that quote almost 180 years ago when Crawfordsville was a dot on the prairie and this fine College was just a scant few buildings.
Imagine also, the audacity of my inaugural challenge: “that we go from ‘A’ to ‘The’ and establish Wabash College as The Liberal Arts College, For Men.”
With heart-felt gratitude and pride, I am sincerely yours,
Gregory D. Hess
Think critically, Act responsibly, Lead effectively, and Live humanely.”
P.S. We had a dunk tank! Check that out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqdZwqQAhZM&feature=share