History made again at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

July 6th, 2015 | SMWC

Class of

A room of nearly 300 women and men filled with anticipation as class gifts were announced during the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) 2015 Reunion Banquet. As the Class of 1965 was called upon, nearly 56 women celebrating their 50th Reunion took the stage to present a check to SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D. As the check was uncovered, a total amount of $1,045,000 was revealed, sending the room into a chorus of cheers.

One year earlier, in 2014, for the first time in the history of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a jubilee class - the Class of 1964, gave a combined gift over the year of one million dollars. The exact amount was $1,001,964. Shortly after, they challenged the Class of 1965 to beat their record. The Class of '65 eagerly accepted the challenge, and at their Jubilee Reunion in June 2015, they broke it.

“There is a magic about our class. We all like each other a lot,” Nancy Hurrle Emmett, of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, 1965 alum, said with a laugh. “We are a group like no other class. We currently have the highest percentage of giving in the history of the College. There’s a spirit to this class. This is the greatest group you’re ever going to see!”

According to Barbara Fossum, also a 1965 graduate of The Woods, the class felt the goal was important to continue the precedent set by the generous gift given by the Class of 1964, in hopes that other classes will gift as much as they can as well.

“We believe the gifts by the classes of 1964 and 1965 will help create an awareness among alums of the importance of their gifts to the survival and health of the College,” stated Fossum, of Estero, Fla. “Many of us, I think, did not realize how important alum support is, and we started giving late in our lives. We hope that expectations can be set with current students so that they start giving, even if in very small amounts, right after they get their first jobs. I, for one, wish I had started to give monthly right after I graduated.”

To the alums celebrating their 50th Reunion, though, their choice to give was about much more than the challenge.

“I give to the Woods in gratitude and because the world needs more people like the women I went to college with, and the Woods can make that happen,” stated Barbara Mandal, 1965 alum, of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Fossum mirrored those comments stating, “I would like other young people to experience what I did at The Woods. I received many gifts from The Woods, so I’m simply paying it back with the thought that my gift will help current and future students receive the same valuable experiences that I did.”

The Class of 1964 didn’t realize that they were starting a chain reaction when they set out on their giving journey leading up to their 50th Reunion, but the Class of 1965 has already challenged the incoming jubilee class.

“Our goal to raise more than the Class of 1964 started a friendly competition that rallied our class, kept us in touch with each other as never before and raised our percentage of giving to the highest level ever. So it was good for the Class of 1965,” stated Mandal. “But most important we carried on the legacy of the class before us to set the bar high for future golden-anniversary class giving. We’re hoping the Class of 1966 can beat us!”

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