‘Thank-A-Donor Day’ at UA

By Julian Curet, [email protected]

The tradition of donating, starting with John R. Buchtel and his wife’s donation of $500,000 to the founding of Buchtel College in 1870, has continued over the years and allowed UA to grow and expand into the University we know today.

Recently, Roger Read, retired chairman and CEO of Harwick Chemical Corporation, made a two-year pledge of $168,000 to UA’s Student Success Center. He and his late wife Judith Read also set up a scholarship for the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

In recognition of the importance of donations such as these, the Department of Development held the University’s first “Thank-A-Donor Day” last Friday in the Student Union.

Director of Development Nicole Montesano said that one out of three UA alumni have contributed a gift during their life, 72 percent of students are receiving financial assistance, and 2,200 students have received donor-funded scholarships.

Montesano organized “Thank-A-Donor Day” to “give our students an opportunity to thank our donors, and our donors an opportunity to see the students that they’re are impacting.”

Students were encouraged to write small messages on sheets of paper that were then displayed on the “Gratitude Wall.” These messages ranged from simple “thanks” to more personal testimonies like, “I’m graduating [in] the next 8 months without debt because of donors like you.”  

Zippy was also present and students could show their thanks and school spirit by getting their picture taken.

More than 200 students participated in “Thank-A-Donor Day.”  

UA student Megan Muniak stopped by with a friend, got some candy, wrote her own “Thank You” sign, and had her picture taken with Zippy.

“I think those who donate to the University are extremely important because they assist in the ability for so many different campus activities such as clubs and sports to take place and become a reality here,” Muniak said.

The photos taken during the event will be used for “Thankful Thursdays,” another series from the Department of Development that is being promoted through social media. Montesano says that donors can visit the Department’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter account and see students giving thanks, “whether they’re benefiting directly from a scholarship or just benefiting from the fact they walk [into] a building every day that was renovated by a donor.”  

UA’s 2015-2016 fiscal year saw a drop in many aspects of giving, according to the Aug. 16 Board of Trustees meeting booklet. According to many sources, notably letters and articles of the past year in the Akron Beacon Journal, some of this drop came from dissatisfaction with former president Scott Scarborough’s administration. But Montesano says that “we’re moving forward.”

She says she and her department want to “make sure that our alumni and friends are feeling good about the institution and want to be engaged in making a gift here.”

“Thank-A-Donor Day” was an event programmed to do just that. Montesano says she was energized by the enthusiastic response of many students willing to thank donors, and that it was “one of [her] favorite professional days [she’s] ever had” at UA.

She plans to make the occasion an annual event. Also, on Oct. 4, the Department of Development will be holding a “Scholarship Celebration,” which will involve more interaction between students and donors.

For more information on this and other events, visit the Department’s webpage at uakron.edu/development/ or follow its Twitter account @UAGives.