The Columns

Annual Fund: Bert ’83 and Wyn Ponder ’16 Your Support Matters, Volunteering for the Annual Fund is a Family Affair

— by on September 5th, 2016

Bert '83 and Wyn Ponder '16

“I have really enjoyed connecting with classmates and other friends during the course of my volunteer work for the W&L Annual Fund.”

For Bert Ponder ’83, of Atlanta, and his daughter, Wyn ’16, volunteering for Washington and Lee’s Annual Fund has become a family tradition. Bert serves W&L as the chair of the Annual Fund, while Wyn is one of five lead class agents for the Class of 2016.

Although Wyn is now delighted to have followed in her father’s footsteps by attending W&L, she did not always envision spending her undergraduate days in Lexington. “At first, I wanted to attend a big school, and when my dad would urge me to consider W&L, I would brush it off,” she says. By the end of her junior year, however, Wyn realized that W&L was the place for her, although she tried to keep it a secret from her dad. She applied regular decision and found out she was admitted one afternoon when her parents asked her to get something out of her vehicle. When Wyn got to the driveway, she found a Trident decal on her car. She was thrilled when her parents ran outside to congratulate her on the acceptance. Wyn has not regretted her decision to enroll at W&L, and cites her wonderful friendships and the close relationships she’s made with faculty as her favorite aspects of the W&L experience.

Bert agrees that the outstanding faculty is one component of the W&L experience that has not changed since his student days in the early ’80s. “The beauty of W&L is that it hasn’t changed,” he says. To Bert, about the only thing that is different is that “the students are smarter, but they are still well-rounded, good kids.”

As well as supporting the Annual Fund at a leadership level as members of the President’s Society, both Bert and Wyn devote a great deal of time to volunteering for the Annual Fund.

In his role as Annual Fund chair, Bert serves as the primary alumni liaison with the Annual Giving Office and lends support to the university through his dedication to raising unrestricted current operating dollars from W&L’s undergraduate and law alumni, non-alumni parents and friends. An important aspect of his role as chair is motivating and supporting the team of approximately 150 class agent volunteers. He previously served W&L as a class agent, as co-chair of his 25th reunion, and as a member of his 30th reunion committee. Those earlier volunteer experiences taught him that service to W&L is fun and not as daunting as one may think. Says Bert, “I have really enjoyed connecting with classmates and other friends during the course of my volunteer work for the W&L Annual Fund.”

Wyn was inspired to give back to W&L through volunteering for the Annual Fund after realizing how much W&L means to her father. As a senior class agent, she is one of five students who chaired the 2016 senior gift campaign, which has already set new university records for the number of members in the Presidents’ Society and overall class participation. “Being involved with the senior gift as a class agent has really helped me see the overall love my class has for W&L. It is clear to me that giving back to W&L and showing that they care about our experience here is very important to my classmates,” said Wyn.

Skylar Beaver, director of annual giving, remarks: “The Annual Giving Office is truly grateful for the Ponder family’s dedication to Washington and Lee. We hope that both Bert and Wyn will continue to serve as volunteers on behalf of the Annual Fund for years to come.”

The 2015-16 fiscal year ends on June 30. To make a gift to the Annual Fund, please visit support.wlu.edu/af.

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