Philanthropy Day puts giving in the spotlight
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 09:03
Donations and private gifts don’t only provide cosmetic changes to Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus; they provide educational opportunities for any student who takes advantage of them.
IUP celebrated Philanthropy Day Thursday on the first floor of the Stapleton Library. Students, faculty and staff gathered for photographs, free T-shirts and food to thank those who have given their time and money to the university.
“Philanthropy Day is an event that we’re holding for the first time ever here on campus,” said Emily Smeltz, director of annual giving and IUP alumna. “We’re opening it up to faculty, staff and students to raise awareness and educate about how important private gifts are to the university and the great thing that scholarship money is able to do.
“We really build the culture of philanthropy on campus so the people will understand why it’s important to give and all the good that donations can do and gifts can do. By having an event like this where we open it up to everybody, we’re hoping to make it front and center.”
Smeltz explained that donated money is used for everything from scholarships, technology improvements, building enhancements, laboratory resources and
providing resources for students to travel to conferences.
“Basically IUP raised (approximately) $5.6 million and we used that money to do all kinds of things on campus,” she said, “to kind of make it a better place.”
Students who made their way through the library had the opportunity to sign up and fill out a postcard thanking donors for their contributions. Once a postcard was filled out, they were given a Philanthropy Day T-shirt.
Students were also given the opportunity to sign up for the student philanthropy committee which will hold different events around campus as well as help with the senior gift program.
President Michael Driscoll thought the Philanthropy Day activities were going well.
“It looks great,” he said. “Looks like good attendance here, lots of fun things going on, so it looks like a great thing.”
Driscoll further explained his thoughts on philanthropy and how it benefits IUP.
“I think [philanthropy is] critical and will become more critical going forward,” he said. “Only 27 percent of our funding comes from state appropriation nowadays, students who pay tuition pick up the rest. So every dollar that’s a donation to further a student’s opportunity, to further a mission, is something we don’t have to go to the student or somewhere else for.”
A photo booth offered an array of props students and faculty could use in a series of photographs. Two photos were of the individual’s choosing, a third would feature those photographed holding a thank you sign which could be later used in correspondence with donors.
William Speidel, vice president for university advancement, provided the opening remarks before attendees were treated to three separate speakers.
“You may not be aware that philanthropy has played a very important role in the history of our institution,” he said. “The first gifts we can find record of date back to the founding of IUP when it was a normal school. This was in 1872, in January. In order to start a normal school, the state required contributions of $50,000 and Indiana Normal School at that time was able to end up with $53,450 in subscriptions in order to start the normal school.