By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89
In August, the Princeton Review again ranked Wofford’s network of alumni in the Top 25 among all private colleges and universities. Placing Wofford at No. 14, the magazine quotes students as saying that Wofford gives them opportunities to “network with highly influential people.” The magazine also touts the “family atmosphere and close-knit community,” a “rigorous” liberal arts experience, beautiful and well-kept facilities, and “an outstanding study abroad program.” According to student reviewers, Wofford offers “an individualized education and personal attention” and “specializes in preparing students for graduate or professional school.”
So how does that apply to the Office of Advancement changing its name and refining its mission as the Office of Philanthropy + Engagement?
“The Office of Philanthropy + Engagement brings to life the college’s mission,” says Calhoun Kennedy ’89, vice president for philanthropy and engagement. “The office builds relationships with alumni, parents, faculty, staff, trustees and friends and helps them match their philanthropic interests with student and college needs.”
In this model, engagement becomes a key that unlocks increased opportunities for students to connect with professionals interested in mentoring or hiring Wofford graduates. Engagement also opens the door to focused giving. For example, learning more about givers and their interests means pairing supportive alumni with academic departments or putting Wofford families together with programs and services that enhance the student experience.
“Words matter,” says Kennedy. “Philanthropy + Engagement is a good fit because giving Wofford constituents opportunities to engage and support Wofford students is what we do.” To strengthen giving, participation and engagement, the office has restructured to improve customer service and communication. It has hired two young alumni officers — Dylan Goshorn ’22 and Ella Jarrett Purdy ’22 — to better serve recent graduates. The department also has revamped its social media platforms and deployed new technologies to make giving more convenient and donor-friendly.
“As we build relationships with Wofford constituents, we also build trust. The Office of Philanthropy + Engagement strives to be responsive, positive, impactful and relevant, and we are grateful for the support of the Wofford community as we make this transition and do our part to promote student success,” says Kennedy.
With a new name comes several new initiatives, including a focus on:
- Participation, especially in classes with young alumni.
- Scholarship support.
- Funding for experiential learning.
- Renovation of the Reeves Tennis Center.
- Rallying engagement during A Day for Wofford.
- Building a strong regional alumni club network.
- Read; stay informed.
- Attend events on campus.
- Join regional groups.
- Mentor a student or volunteer to speak at the college.
- Give. Make a financial contribution.
- Serve on a leadership board.
- Share Wofford news on social media.
- Encourage prospective students to visit Wofford.
- Stay in touch with classmates or friends from college.
- Wear Wofford gear.
FUN FACTS ABOUT PHILANTHROPY
- The majority of philanthropic gifts to the college are restricted, which allows donors to connect their interests with student need. For example, gifts to the women’s golf Terrier Excellence Fund are used by Coach Angie Ridgeway to enhance the experience for student-athletes on the team. Student-athletes on the team also benefit from gifts to the Terrier Club, which funds scholarships.
- Everyone who attends Wofford College as a student automatically becomes a member of the alumni association. Members of the alumni association are invited to Wofford events on and off campus and have opportunities to travel with other Terriers. Being a part of the alumni association means getting college updates and sharing your news with friends and classmates. Alumni who want more involvement may volunteer to lead regional alumni clubs, host an event or serve on an alumni leadership council.
- Giving is a win-win! In addition to contributing to student success, your gift to the college is tax deductible. Wofford also offers a free will service and has a network of advisors who can help you make estate plans that benefit you and the college.