by Kristin Johnson, manager of internal communications, University Development Office
The UT Graduate School turns 100 next year, and to celebrate it’s throwing a party — and you and your donors are invited to join in the festivities.
From a development perspective, the Graduate School’s centennial celebration is a great opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of our Graduate School alums and to engage alumni and friends who are interested in supporting graduate education.
Many of the colleges and schools across campus have specific campaign priorities promoting graduate studies and fellowships.
There’s good reason for that support. UT Austin is one the largest graduate schools in the nation, with almost 12,000 students currently enrolled in more than 100 graduate academic programs. Whether teaching in the classroom or doing research in the lab, these students have a major impact on our national and international reputation as a top public research institution.
Ways to join the celebration
Here are some of the ways you and your alumni and friends can celebrate the Graduate School centennial:
The 1910 Society
Last year, the Graduate School created The 1910 Society, a group that supports philanthropic giving, as well as recruitment and retention of top graduate students. To join, members contribute at least $1,910 to graduate programs. The society welcomes opportunities to include donors who give to graduate studies in any area of the University.
The 1910 Society Lecture series
The 1910 Society Lecture Series, a set of four lectures by distinguished Graduate School alumni, was launched in September 2009 with a talk by Bob Taylor, one of the founders of the Internet, who got his master’s degree at UT. The next three lectures will take place in the spring and fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011. To find out how to invite your donors or to suggest a speaker for the series, contact John Dalton, assistant dean, or Kathleen Mabley, marketing manager, of the Graduate School.
Fall 2010 celebrations and gala
The centennial celebration of the Graduate School will culminate in the main gala event in November 2010. Throughout the fall of 2010, the University will showcase graduate education with an article in Alcalde, the UT alumni magazine; student forums showcasing cutting edge research; a birthday cake and open house in front of the Main Building; a third segment of the lecture series; and the gala event itself, which will feature a Tower lighting. The Graduate School is hoping to have participation of graduate students and alumni from all of the colleges and schools.
Share Your Stories campaign
The “Share Your Stories” campaign is a way to engage an even broader spectrum of alumni. The campaign is gathering stories from alumni about achievements they attribute to their UT graduate degree or how their degree helps them change the world.
You may nominate any of your alumni who you think have done something noteworthy — whether it’s recently or in the past. Alumni are also invited to submit their own stories. Initially, these stories will be published online. Eventually, the Graduate School hopes to publish a selection of them in a book to be published by UT Press.
When cultivating donors to join in the Graduate School’s centennial celebration, consider the following approach:
- Start thinking now about prospective donors who would be interested in graduate education. These tend to be people who want to have a major impact on helping the University get to the next level.
- Invite them to come to the centennial events, such as the gala and the lecture series.
- Work on major gifts toward graduate education that we potentially could announce at the gala.
- Encourage donors who give or are interested in giving to graduate programs to join The 1910 Society.
- Encourage Graduate School alumni to share their stories. This can be a great conversation starter or relationship builder. Send them the “Share Your Stories” link and encourage them to submit their own stories or put them in touch with Mabley or Dalton if they want to be personally interviewed.
- Contact Dalton or Mabley with questions or assistance with any of the above.
By partnering with the Graduate School in its centennial celebration, we can honor and support our graduate students, fulfill our campaign priorities, and reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 public research institution in the nation.