Another Historic Year for Student Giving

Class of 2014 sets records for giving percentage, dollars raised.

Nelson Carbonell
Nelson Carbonell, B.A. ’85, chair of the Board of Trustees, presents a check for $55,000 to Senior Class Gift leaders Will Ellingson and Rayna Bagchi.
May 15, 2014

By James Irwin

Nelson and Michele Carbonell’s matching gift challenge keeps increasing in difficulty, and senior class after senior class keeps rising to meet it.

The Carbonells, who in 2012 began challenging graduating seniors to increase participation in the annual class gift with a promise to match with a donation of their own, saw their goal met for the third year in a row Thursday at the annual Class Day and senior class toast in University Yard. More than 55 percent of the George Washington University class of 2014 made a contribution to the 2014 Senior Class Gift, raising $86,810 in the process.

“The participation challenge goes up every year,” said Mr. Carbonell, B.A. ’85, chair of the Board of Trustees, who set the 2014 goal at 55 percent participation and whose “50 for 50” and “51 for 51” challenges were met in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

“If anyone from the class of 2015 is in the audience, know that this is just going to get harder,” he joked.

The percentage and dollars raised are records for a GW senior class.

“The class of 2014 is doing its part to leave a legacy like the Colonials who came before us,” said School of Business senior Will Ellingson, co-leader of the Senior Class Gift campaign. “Through our gifts we leave behind a legacy we can be proud of. All of our gifts make a difference for the Colonials who follow in our footsteps.”

GW seniors allocated donations to departments, schools, scholarships and student organizations across the university. Thursday’s Class Day event, hosted by the Senior Class Gift Campaign and the GW Alumni Association, was attended by more than 600 graduating seniors and featured brief remarks from President Steven Knapp, Mr. Carbonell, Mr. Ellingson and Senior Class Gift campaign co-leader Rayna Bagchi.

Commencement is Sunday on the National Mall.

“Our journey does not end here,” said Ms. Bagchi, who will graduate this weekend from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “We’re part of a lifelong community of Colonials. We’ll continue to give back and stay connected.”

Dr. Knapp offered his congratulations to attendees for their record-breaking campaign, and led the crowd in the traditional class toast.

“As you pursue the aspirations for which your George Washington University education has prepared you, we wish you all success,” he said, champagne flute in hand. “And may you always regard the George Washington University your cultural and intellectual home, here in this nation’s capital.”