When the time came to plan its 50th Reunion and the commemorative class gift, the Reunion Committee for William & Mary’s Class of 1965 had its sights set on breaking the record for the largest 50th Reunion gift in the university’s history.
And that’s just what members of the class did. They soared past an original fundraising goal of $13.5 million and a stretch goal of $15 million to raise a grand total of $20.6 million. The reunion gift included contributions from 52 percent of all alumni from the Class of 1965 and 60 percent of those who graduated.
The previous record was set by the Class of 1962, which raised more than $13 million for its 50th Reunion.
Rich Kraemer ’65, who chaired the Reunion Committee, said, “There was never any doubt that the class gift would set a record. It’s a very good group of people. We got very special results for a very special school.”
During the luncheon at which the class gift total was announced, William & Mary President Taylor Reveley — an honorary member of the Class of 1965 — praised the class for its dedication to the university through the decades.
“Fiftieth reunions are joyous occasions, not just for the classmates involved but also for alma mater,” he said. “Reunions remind us that people are at the heart of the university, and those people who remain connected to William & Mary across the years, throughout a lifetime, are precious beyond measure to alma mater.”
Chancellor Robert Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98, the Reunion Committee’s honorary chair, was unable to attend the weekend festivities in Williamsburg, but recorded a video message for his classmates that was shown during the reunion.
“I’m very proud of what the Class of 1965 has done throughout the years, but especially in honor of our 50th anniversary,” he said. “As state funding for these great schools continues to decline, gifts from alumni and others for scholarships, for professorships and other such things have become even more important than they ever have been in the history of higher education. William & Mary, frankly, got kind of a late start in this, and I think we’re making up for lost time.”
More than $1.1 million of the reunion gift total is designated for the class project — the expansion of William & Mary’s Alumni House.
“Continued alumni engagement is critical to William & Mary’s future. An expanded Alumni House will allow us to connect even more meaningfully with our alumni and with current students,” said Marilyn Ward Midyette ’75, executive director of the William & Mary Alumni Association. “I could not be more pleased with the Class of 1965’s wonderful support for this worthwhile project.”
Gifts to all areas of the university from class members were counted in the total of $20.6 million.
“If you look to see where the funds are being directed, they’re being sent to all the corners of the campus, whether it’s athletics, academics, scholarships or general purpose funds,” said Howard Busbee ’65, J.D. ’67, M.L.T. ’68, a Reunion Committee co-chair. “We have basically tried to touch all areas of the campus through our campaign, and I think we’ve been successful.”
Tom Hollowell ’65, J.D. ’68, M.L.T. ’69, a Reunion Committee co-chair, said he was thrilled but not surprised with the class gift total. And he doesn’t expect — or want — the Class of 1965 to hold the record for long.
“I think future classes down the road are going to do far better than we did,” Hollowell said. “They have been trained a whole lot better than our class in giving to the College. Most of the graduates of the College came after 1980, so hopefully you’re going to see a lot better results.”