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11.15.06 Alumni Council pledges $20M toward campaign

Tufts' campaign to raise $1.2 billion has gotten off to strong start thanks to a remarkable pledge by the Alumni Council.

The pledge, the largest ever undertaken by the elected leadership of the Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA), commits the group to raising $20 million over the next five years.

Council members unanimously adopted the resolution at the Alumni Council meeting on October 22, following a presentation by former TUAA president Bill O'Reilly, A77, co-chair of the council's Campaign Committee.

"I wasn't surprised by that endorsement," said O'Reilly. "Council members have deep emotional ties to the institution and know firsthand the impressive leadership of President Bacow. This pledge is our way of showing tangible support for a cause we believe will fulfill Tufts' potential. We hope our gifts benefit any number of critical priorities."

The landmark commitment was announced officially at the November 3 celebration marking the public phase of Beyond Boundaries: The Campaign for Tufts. The pledge at that time brought campaign progress to $615 million.

"This is an exciting benchmark" in philanthropy, said President Lawrence S. Bacow. "The Council has never [collectively committed] to a gift like this before: this is truly unprecedented. One can only hope it will become precedent-setting."

Some 300 elected alumni members make up the council, and the group's potential for philanthropy was carefully appraised before setting a pledge of raising $20 million, said co-chair Sharon Halverson, J65.

What's most important, she added, is that the resolution calls for 100 percent participation from each member annually. "We will be working hand in glove with the council's Development Committee and with the Advancement Division to encourage participation," she said.

Sunny Breed, J66, TUAA president, also stressed that council members are encouraged to contribute "in what ever way suits their interests."

"There are myriad opportunities for council members to show their support," she said. "Someone might be passionate about a particular school and might want to direct funds toward that school, or they might have an upcoming reunion gift, or an annual fund tradition. Any contribution to Tufts will count towards this overall goal."

The goal grew out of several meetings of the TUAA Campaign Committee appointed last year by then-President Ann Palmieri, J76, and comprised of O'Reilly, Halverson, Breed, Palmieri, Mark Ferri, A84, F86, Barbara Clarke, J88, Rysia de Ravel, J71, Elaine Kasparian, J58, and Jason Potts, A00.