During Reunion 2016 June 9-12, more than 1,000 alumni and friends returned to campus to reconnect with friends, make new ones and check out all the changes and updates to their beloved alma mater. A highlight of the weekend was the announcement by President Deborah F. Stanley that the college had reached a milestone in its five-year fundraising campaign, With Passion & Purpose.
“We set out on our journey five years ago to secure the resources we need to prepare students to contribute to the common good,” President Stanley said. “As a public institution, we pride ourselves on keeping the doors of education and possibility open wide to all who seek higher education and a better life.
“To support that mission and to keep college affordable and within reach, we laid out an ambitious plan to raise $40 million,” she said. “I am thrilled to announce that we have achieved that milestone, and we thank each and every person who helped us reach this moment.” (Complete coverage of the campaign, which raised $43.48 million, will appear in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue.)
One of the major accomplishments of the campaign was the 154-percent growth of the endowment, from $11.5 million in 2011 to more than $29.2 million on June 30, 2016.
The Oswego College Foundation, comprised primarily of alumni representatives, has stewarded the gifts exceptionally well, and the college endowment’s 10-year rate of return of 7.9 percent exceeded the 7.2 percent rate of Oswego’s aspirational group—universities with endowments over $1 billion—and the industry average of 6.3 percent (NACUBO Report, January 2016). This long-term rate of return is a key factor in determining how much money the Oswego College Foundation will pay out in privately endowed scholarships and funds.
In addition to approximately $4 million in merit scholarships awarded to Oswego students each fall, the Oswego College Foundation provides $800,000 in more than 350 scholarships. The campaign created more than 75 new scholarships for students and increased endowment levels on several existing scholarships to add to existing totals—which translates into larger or more scholarships for students.
Reunion attendees also toured campus buildings, attended a BBQ at Fallbrook and enjoyed a rodeo-themed tailgate followed by a “hoedown” concert, which was cosponsored by Delta Kappa Kappa to support a new scholarship established by the fraternity. The concert featured Jumbo Shrimp (with lead singer Tom Willette ’93) and The Gravelding Brothers (with lead singer Nick Gravelding ’91) in the Marano Campus Center. Reunion provided numerous opportunities for friends to meet up over golf, a meal, a beautiful sunset and dozens of other events throughout the weekend.
This year’s Reunion giving classes donated more than $555,955 to SUNY Oswego, and the Class of 1966, under the leadership of class giving chairs Eric ’66 and Nan Decker Kuntz ’66, won the coveted “Participation Cup,” which is awarded to the Reunion class with the highest percentage of classmates who donate.
A highlight for some attendees was meeting 10-time Emmy Award-winning TV personality and America’s favorite weatherman Al Roker ’76, who returned to celebrate his 40th Reunion with classmates.
“We were thrilled to welcome so many of our alumni back to reconnect with each other and check out the developments on our lakeside campus,” said Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Laura Pavlus Kelly ’09. “We hosted alumni representing the Class of 1947 to our Graduates Of the Last Decade (GOLD), and who had traveled from Florida, Texas, Canada, Arizona, California and across New York to be with us this weekend. We enjoyed hearing their stories and sharing news from campus with them. We look forward to seeing them next year at Reunion 2017, June 8-11!”