Thank You! The numbers say it all. During the 2018-19 fiscal year W&L received $31,541,754 in new gifts and pledges towards a total of $50,143,773 in philanthropic cash.
Alumni, parents and friends once again gave generously to Washington and Lee during the 2018-19 fiscal year ending on June 30. With undergraduate alumni giving more dollars than ever before, the Annual Fund result of $10,713,229 was the second-highest total ever achieved following last year’s record result of $10,858,812. The Annual Fund benefited significantly from the support of 48.4% of undergraduate alumni making a gift to the university, while participation by Law alumni and non-alumni parents increased by 5.6% and 11%, respectively. W&L maintains its longtime status as having one of the highest undergraduate participation rates in the country. Overall, W&L received $31,541,754 in new gifts and pledges in support of all university priorities, while philanthropic cash received totaled $50,143,773, the second-highest total in five years.
Dennis Cross, vice president for University Advancement, noted that fundraising is just one aspect of the division’s mission to connect, involve and gain the support of alumni, parents and friends. In addition, University Advancement works to tell the university’s story and to communicate current information about the life of the university to prospective students, members of the campus community, alumni and campus visitors. Cross highlighted several additional accomplishments within University Advancement in 2018-19:
More than 2,100 volunteer roles involve alumni as Trustees, advisory board members, class agents, reunion committee members, chapter leaders and participants in the Alumni Admissions Program (AAP). AAP volunteers do two-thirds of all high school applicant interviews.
The Office of Alumni Engagement supported 75 chapters in the U.S. and England. Sixty-seven chapters staged a total of 277 events. Eleven presidential events featured Will Dudley, thus completing his visit to the top-40 chapters where more than 70% of alumni reside. The Five-Star Festival for alumni who graduated from W&L more than 50 years ago, including 55th, 60th and 65th reunions, was well received. 2019 Alumni Weekend May 2-5, focused on the 15th through 50th reunions, attracted 771 alumni, an all-time record. The spring reunion classes also set new records for the Annual Fund through gifts and pledges. Because Young Alumni Weekend in the fall of 2018 was cancelled due to the threat of a major hurricane, the classes of 2008 and 2013 will celebrate their 6th and 11th reunions during Young Alumni Weekend, Oct. 25-27, along with the 5th and 10th reunions of the classes of 2009 and 2014.
The Office of Lifelong Learning sponsored 14 international travel programs, five Alumni College seminars and three other campus symposia for alumni, parents and friends. The office also progressed in planning additional ways to bring lifelong learning programming to its constituencies.
Law School Advancement coordinated 14 law alumni events across the country. Law Alumni Weekend attracted several hundred alumni and guests, many of whom contributed to the reunion class gift of $2.65 million. The Law Annual Fund surpassed its goal, raising $1.583M, while also increasing alumni participation to 30%.
The Office of Communications and Public Affairs (Communications) produced three issues of the W&L Magazine and two issues of Discovery, the law newsletter, as well as monthly issues of the electronic newsletter Generally Speaking, which is received by more than 30,000 alumni, parents and friends. The office also produces two other e-newsletters, Women in General, for its alumnae, and Inside W&L, for black alumni. In total, the office published over 500 news or feature stories on its online magazine, The Columns. Nine current students took part in wluLex, the popular student social media team covering all aspects of campus and community life alongside the W&L’s official wlunews accounts. Total followers of wlunews and wluLex reached 17,124 on Facebook, 12,643 on Twitter, and 15,054 on Instagram. wluLex grew its Snapchat followers to 4,693.
The office continued its focus on video, producing both short features and live-streamed events for alumni and prospective student audiences. 18,429 viewers watched 33 Livestreams, while followers to W&L’s YouTube page grew to 3,876 subscribers. Sports Information produced an additional 103 live video sports broadcasts, viewed by 29,215 people.
Communications also continued its close collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid to provide effective recruitment materials, completing brochures for each area of academic study for a new display in the Admissions Office and embarking on a university website redesign to be unveiled in Fall 2019.
Finally, in addition to supporting the university’s on- and off-campus events, the Office of Special Events oversaw the university’s two campus guest houses, Morris and Belfield, and supported all social events at the Lee House.