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5.20.05 A Celebration of Spirit: Class giving tops $23 million

Alumni Weekend's Big Gig on Friday night is a chance for alumni to relax over dinner and then cut loose on the dance floor. But before that party begins, there’s another joyous occasion as Tufts thanks those alumni who’ve put their all into raising outstanding class gifts.

The reception hosted by the Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA) had good cause for celebration. Not only did alumni set nine new reunion records, they also raised a total of $23,020,691, the second-largest overall class gift to Tufts. The overall class gift consists of all giving made by each class since their last reunion.

This year, Tufts established a new award to acknowledge those alumni who continue to show their support to Tufts beyond their 50th Reunion. The University Cup was awarded to the Class of 1945 for their participation rate of 54.9 percent — a figure that also broke a 60th Reunion record.

"We are so pleased to thank these generous alumni for giving Tufts the financial support it deserves and needs," said Ann Palmieri, J78, president of TUAA. "Their dedication and perseverance is clearly one that keeps Tufts strong."

One dedicated group that led the charge was the Class of 1955, which marked their 50th Reunion by reaching a remarkable 55.6 percent participation, an achievement that earned them the Founders Cup. Their class gift of $4,559,914 also set a new record for the largest 50th Reunion class gift.

Jack Heneghan, A55, G60, class gift coordinator, said he was encouraged early on in his efforts by "a very enthusiastic reception—much more than the previous reunion," he said. "I also explained our goals and a $50,000 challenge grant; the person who set it up would match any gift of $1,000 or more up to $50,000. That was an enticement for classmates to raise their sights. I also tried to rekindle their memories of the good days, and, looking through our reunion booklet, most of my class looked back very fondly on Tufts; several said it was the happiest four years of their life. And for everyone I talked with, I followed up with a personal note."

Similar diligence paid off for the Class of 1950, celebrating their 55th Reunion. The class received the 1852 Cup for raising the largest class gift—$5,236,537. This amount represents a total of all gifts made by the class to Tufts since their last reunion.

For making the largest gift to the Tufts Fund in this reunion year, the Class of 1980 won the Deans Cup for raising $271,382. This class also broke the 25th Reunion class gift and Tufts Fund records and was recognized for having the highest class membership in the Packard Society, with 78 donors of $1,000 or more to the Tufts Fund.

All in all, nine reunion records were broken this year. They are:

A 60th reunion participation record of 54.9 percent
by the Class of 1945

A 55th reunion class gift record of $5,236,537
by the Class of 1950

A 50th reunion class gift record of $4,559,914
by the Class of 1955

A 40th reunion participation record of 47 percent
by the Class of 1965

A 30th reunion class gift record of $3,271,421
by the Class of 1975

A 25th reunion class gift record of $2,014,149 and a Tufts Fund record of $271,382
by the Class of 1980

A 20th reunion Tufts Fund record of $210,005
by the Class of 1985

A 5th reunion Tufts Fund record of $18,920
by the Class of 2000