Seniors End College Career with Week, Gift

The Class of 2015 kicked off graduation ceremonies after Senior Week at the senior convocation ceremony in McDonough Arena Thursday.

William G. Goodwin (COL ’07) director of external affairs at One Chance Illinois, delivered the convocation address, and Citlalli Alvarez Almendariz (COL ’15) and Alexander O’Neill (COL ’15) offered senior reflections.

“One day, you and those whose lives you’ve touched will remember a life well lived, a life that made a difference, a magnanimous life whose purpose moved beyond you, a life worthy of the learning you’ve been blessed to receive,” Goodwin said.

Another highlight of the convocation ceremony was the presentation of the senior class gift. This year’s class raised a total of $146,475.61, combining the help of 1,276 donating seniors and an additional gift of $75,000 from the Board of Regents.

Over 75 percent of the Class of 2015 contributed to the gift, exceeding the Class of 2014’s participation rate of 73 percent and allowing the class to unlock a higher gift from the Board of Regents, which has donated $1,000 to the class fund for every percentage point of seniors who donate since 2013.

Last year, the Class of 2014 broke both the previous record for the number of seniors donating to the class gift and the donation total for the class gift, with 1,249 members of the Class of 2014 raising $155,640.40 with the help of a $73,000 gift from the Board of Regents.

The last class to donate a physical item or space to the university was the Class of 2008. The university moved to a cash donation system in 2009, which allows students to fund both scholarships and individual academic departments or student groups of their choice.

Senior Class Fundraising Committee Co-Chair Casey Reinhart (MSB ’15) said she hopes this year’s gift will leave a legacy on scholarship funding.

“Every student who is admitted to Georgetown should be given the opportunity to have the same Georgetown experience as me, regardless of their financial situation. Last year the Class Fund received enough donations to fund six scholarships through the 1789 Scholarship Imperative and we would like to fund even more this year,” Reinhart said.

Fundraising committee co-chair VP Dao (SFS ’15) said this year’s senior class continued to use creative methods to reach out to seniors and to encourage them to donate. Methods included engaging students on social media platforms, utilizing peer-to-peer contact and emphasizing outreach to groups who have historically been less involved in alumni activities, such as foreign students and minorities.

“We try to emphasize that seniors can designate their individual gifts to specific groups, organizations or departments on campus. Having started a small club on campus, I understand that even $20 make a difference for new student groups, and we encourage our classmates to help make that difference where they can,” Dao said. “In the end, we want to emphasize that we’re not just giving money to Georgetown, we’re enabling Georgetown students, faculty and communities to do things, to enrich the Georgetown experience.”

Undergraduate Tropaia ceremonies will be in Gaston Hall on Friday, during which awards will be given to students, staff and faculty for various accomplishments. Valedictorians from Georgetown College and the McDonough School of Business will offer remarks at their respective ceremonies.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies and the School of Foreign Service do not have valedictorians, but students with the highest GPAs are named as dean’s medal recipients.

In the week leading up to formal commencement exercises, graduating seniors took part in Senior Week, gathering as a class for several planned activities.

Festivities began with a barbecue on the Leavey Esplanade and included several other events such as a Casino Night in the Healey Family Student Center, a keg party in O’Donovan Hall, freshman floor reunions, the President’s Picnic at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg, Md. and “Georgetown Day 2.0″ on the Copley Lawn. The week will conclude Friday night with the annual Senior Ball at Union Station.

Senior Class Committee Events Chair Helen Li (MSB ’15) and her team have been planning for Senior Week since the end of Senior Disorientation 2.0 in January. Senior Class Committee Chair Bridget Mullen (COL ’15) said this year’s goal was to increase participation rates.

Senior Week is open to all graduating seniors, and in line with the committee’s goal of high participation, this year saw a record number of online pre-registrants, with more than 1,350 students signing up for the events, according to Mullen.

While students may see Senior Week as one last chance to let loose before entering the world as college graduates, Mullen emphasized how it serves as a time for contemplation and a chance to look back on the past four years before transitioning to a new stage in life.

“Ultimately, Senior Week is a time for us to unite as a class, reflect on our time at Georgetown, and prepare for what lies beyond the front gates,” Mullen said.


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