Over the years, the Class of 1962 has transformed reunion giving at Carleton, culminating in a record-breaking $30 million gift in honor of its 50th reunion
More than 25 years ago, members of the Class of 1962—then planning their 25th reunion—gathered on the 16th floor of Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Mary Hulings Rice ’62 recalls the memorable experience of talking about reunion giving while meeting in North America’s tallest skyscraper.
“I’m afraid of heights, and the 110-story building was swaying back and forth,” she says. “But the setting was fitting: We were talking about raising numbers that seemed impossible.”
The planning committee was determined to engage every classmate in supporting Carleton and, slowly and steadily, those “impossible” dollar amounts grew until the class had raised a groundbreaking $1.4 million for its 25th reunion.
But the Class of ’62 didn’t stop there. For their 50th reunion this summer, class members upped the ante, raising a record- breaking $30 million, which includes support for the annual fund, endowment, and deferred giving. With the exception of its 30th reunion, the Class of 1962 holds the giving record for every reunion year since its 25th.
So what’s the secret to all this record setting? In its simplest form: “Get everyone out of the audience and onto the stage,” says Don Cooper ’62, who together with Rice and Charlie Lofgren ’62 has served as a class leader. The Class of 1962’s committee succeeded in encouraging 74 percent of the class to make a gift to Carleton during its 50th reunion year.
The Class of 1962 will let Carleton decide how best to use its class gift. “We agreed early on that our class gift should be unrestricted,” says Lofgren. “It maximizes Carleton’s options. We trust the board to use our gifts in ways that will do the most good for current students. We realize the needs have changed since we were in school.”
Cooper recalls an eye-opening speech classmates heard on their first day at Carleton in 1958. “We were told to look to the person on our left and to the person on our right and to realize that one of the three of us wasn’t going to graduate,” he says. That message seemed to encourage a sense of unity among the classmates, who also stuck together due to living arrangements of the time. “The dorms were assigned by class,” says Lofgren. “So your roommates and floormates were from your class, which added to the unity.”
The class revived that feeling for its 50th reunion with the following motto: “Without you, somebody’s missing.”
Nearly half of the Class of 1962 returned to campus for Reunion 2012, thanks to the class volunteers who worked to create an event that would be memorable, Rice says. “I just want to live life and be happy. Planning these reunions has been an absolute ball. As it turns out, giving back is a lot of fun. It’s one of the most joyous things a person can do.”
Class of ’62 Support
The Class of 1962 has been steadfast in its support of Carleton. Members have transformed the College with their generosity and leadership.
For its 50th Reunion, the Class of 1962:
- Gave Carleton a record-setting $30 million gift (breaking the $28 million mark set by the Class of 1952 a decade ago)
- $500,000 was given to the Alumni Annual Fund
- $7 million came in the form of outright gifts that Carleton can use today
- $22.5 million came in the form of deferred gifts of future support
- Returned to Carleton in large numbers: 141 members—or 45 percent of the class—attended Reunion 2012
- Received the Loving Cup award for being the class with the highest percentage of its members in attendance
The Spirit of ’62 Lives On
Carleton recognized the extraordinary efforts of the Class of 1962 at Reunion Convocation by announcing the establishment of the Spirit of ’62 award. This honor will be bestowed on reunion classes exhibiting one or more characteristics for which the Class of 1962 will be remembered: exceptional generosity, creativity and innovation, leadership, flexibility, and fostering positive change.