Supporting Carleton Through the Years

10 April 2024

If you run into me on campus this week, you may notice I am sporting a familiar color combination, as we take the opportunity during Maize and Blue Daize to raise awareness about the many ways in which Carleton alumni, parents, and friends strengthen the Carleton experience for students.

As president, I spend a fair amount of my time traveling to alumni events across the country and meeting individually with donors to thank them for their support. Just last week, I enjoyed visiting with a ’58 alum in the Chicago area whose gratitude to Carleton for the scholarship that enabled her to attend was the motivation for an endowed scholarship that she and her husband have established to support low-income students. I also spoke recently with a young alum, fewer than ten years out, who has been making regular $10-$20 gifts since graduation to the Alumni Annual Fund, for which we are equally grateful. Amazingly, we have many alumni who can claim unbroken chains of 30, 40, 50, or 60+ years of annual gifts. That kind of commitment is rare enough to put Carleton among the top ten colleges and universities nationwide for the percentage of alumni who donate.

I know from my conversations with alumni that students are the reason for this strong support. Alums who are not in a position to be big donors are also eager to host internships, offer career advice, or find other ways to support current students. Hearing directly from students about their Carleton experience helps them to feel connected to the College, and demonstrates the impact of their commitment to Carleton. 

For that reason, it is enormously helpful to have students participate in activities that help generate excitement around Maize and Blue Daize. As part of this annual campus program, students gained points and won prizes by entering contests, taking part in events, or writing thank you notes to Carleton supporters on postcards or a padlet. I guarantee that every one of those notes will be read and valued by a Carl who will appreciate feeling connected to the most important aspect of the College—our students. And I hope that students will remember, when you become alumni yourselves, how important that commitment is to strengthening the experience of the students who follow you.

Featured in Carleton Today, April 11, 2024