Irma Johnston Lent ’59 vaguely remembers the first gift she ever made to SUNY Oswego back in 1976. Her two daughters were in school, she had just returned to teaching at an elementary school in the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery (N.Y.) Central School District, and she and her husband, Duke, had purchased their house.
“I must have received a solicitation from the college, and we were in a stable place financially,” Lent said. “I always believed if you can help, you should. It wasn’t much, as I was a schoolteacher. But if everybody gave a little, it would be a lot.”
Thirty-nine years later, she looks forward to receiving the annual phone call from the Oswego students who seek support for The Fund for Oswego.
“It’s fun talking with the students,” she said. “It reminds me where the money goes and who I’m supporting.” Since that first gift in 1976, Lent has never forgotten her alma mater. In fact, she is the longest consecutive donor at the college. She will be among the 1,700 college supporters, including 190 who have given more than 25 years in a row, who will be welcomed into the new Loyal Lakers Society, which will launch on July 1, 2016.
The society will recognize the most loyal supporters on whom the college can count to contribute to The Fund for Oswego every year. Their consistent financial support provides Oswego with the confidence and resources to achieve new goals and carry out its mission of educating future leaders. “We wanted to establish this new giving society to recognize this very deserving group of donors,” said Betsy Oberst, associate vice president of alumni relations and stewardship. “We cherish the commitment of our supporters who make it a priority to make a gift to Oswego every year, as they are the backbone of The Fund for Oswego.This new society seeks to honor their consistent loyalty to the college.”
Entrance into the Loyal Lakers Society is automatic and occurs after five consecutive years of giving at any level to Oswego. Recognition is based on the total of gifts and pledge payments received in a single fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Couples are recognized for the combined total of their contributions. Members will receive special invitations to events, recognition ribbons at events and special communications to recognize their consecutive years of giving. As for Lent, she was “flabbergasted” to learn that she is the longest consecutive donor at the college and said she has no intention of slowing her support for the college. “Once you start, you don’t stop,” she said. “I come back to campus almost every year, and I am amazed at how big the college has grown—the new construction, the spectacular new hockey rink. The college has grown well and is so impressive. It was a wonderful four years of my life, and I feel blessed that I was able to become a teacher. To me, Oswego was everything I wanted in my college experience.”
To learn more about the new society, visit http://alumni.oswego.edu/loyallakers.