Alumni donations up

Lindsay Bland

Lindsay Bland

With $11.3 million in donations last year, alumni gave about $1.3 million more in 2001 than in previous years.

According to David Marquardt, executive director of the SDSU Foundation, donations are up 20 percent from the year 2000.

The university has received from alumni an average of $10 million a year for each of the past eight years.

Alumni donations over the last 12 years averaged $154,000 each, according a press release from Marquardt.

More money means more benefits for SDSU students, faculty and staff.

Alumni donations help some students directly.

“The most popular donation last year, and every year, is in the form of scholarships,” Marquardt said.

Last year, $2.2 million went to scholarships.

The largest alumni scholarship, the Stephen F. Briggs Family Scholarship, is a $6,500 per year renewable scholarship given to 12 freshman each year. It was established in 1956.

Other alumni money went to the renovation of Solberg Hall and the construction of the Performing Arts Center. In all, $2.2 million of last year’s contributions went to the building and grounds of SDSU.

Various programs received $3 million, while $1.4 million went to aid teaching and research. Another $2.2 million went to life income trusts.

Marquardt said transfer of stock to the university is one of the most appealing options for donors.

This year, however, he expects to see fewer stock donations because of trouble in the stock market.

“Donations of cash, gifts or property may be more popular this year,” he said.

Student employees at the Foundation, known as the “Phone Jacks,” call alumni to ask for donations on Monday through Thursday evenings.

Hallie Thomas, a senior political science major, is heading into her second week of making the nightly phone calls to SDSU graduates.

She said most of the 16 computer stations from which “Phone Jacks” make calls are occupied each night.

“One of the more interesting parts of my job is seeing where people do go from here,” she said. Alumni files on the computer provide that information for the “Phone Jacks.”

Thomas said she enjoys learning how someone ends up using his or her degree from SDSU.

Doing this job makes her wonder “where you’re going to be 10 years down the road when some little Phone Jack is calling you,” she said.

Estimating how many people she calls in a less than four hour shift is difficult, but Thomas said she’s on the phone to alumni the entire time.

“They’re typically pretty friendly because they know you’re going to call,” she said.

Alumni receive a letter notifying them of the phone call about two weeks in advance, she said.

Each year a new group of SDSU students become alumni. According to the Registrar’s office, the total number of graduates from summer 2001, fall 2001 and spring 2002 was about 1,618.

#1.888032:2635298226.jpg:front.jpg:With the help of $3.93 million in alumni funds raised by the SDSU Foundation, the 101-year old Solberg Hall is getting an internal overhaul. The project on the engineering building should be done by the fall of 2003. Solberg Hall is the second oldest building on campus. :Mike Gussiaas