“When we made plans for this year’s Alumni Day of Giving, we briefly considered setting a goal of $200,000,” says Dr. Paul J. O’Reilly (’84), Thomas Aquinas College’s first alumnus president. “But we quickly discarded that idea, thinking it too ambitious.”
It turns out that sum was not ambitious enough.
Over the course of March 7, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, TAC alumni gave $253,571— far exceeding all expectations and smashing the previous record. “Last year’s Alumni Day of Giving set a record at a little over $190,000, and that included a $75,000 matching gift from College Governor Martha Reichert and her husband, Tim, who are parents of alumni, but not actually alumni themselves,” explains Dr. O’Reilly. “This year, we decided to run the whole day with nothing but alumni gifts, which we thought would present a challenge, given that the College is still so young. But our alumni did not disappoint!”
To get the 2023 Alumni Day of Giving off to a quick start, College Governor Angela (Andersen ’87) Connelly and her husband, Jack, promised to match — dollar for dollar — the first $75,000 in gifts from fellow alumni, who easily reached that goal by 10:45 a.m.
Next up, Antonia and Nick Cammarota (’84), Nicole (Cronin) and Ray Tittmann (both ’94), Megan (Moore ’04) and Kurt Van Sciver (’02), Sarah (Goldberg) and Max Summe (both ’07), and Nona (Haggard ’00) and Matthew Kelsey (’95) teamed up to make a $15,000 matching gift. Within three hours, alumni fulfilled that challenge, as well, leading to the day’s final matching gift — $10,000 from an anonymous alumni couple. In less than three hours, alumni had met that challenge, too.
But the deluge of generosity did not stop, with gifts continuing to pour in throughout the night and even the next day. As of this writing, alumni have made 784 gifts, up 38.8 percent from last year, and representing a 32.4 percent increase in total value.
Leading the way was the Class of 2014, which achieved the day’s highest giving rate for the second year in a row, thus earning a highly coveted public recognition in St. Joseph Commons for the next year. The 2014 alumni narrowly bested the Classes of 1988, 1990, 2011, and 1987 — all of which rallied late to surpass the College’s first graduates, the Class of 1975, who held onto first place for most of the day.
Meanwhile, several alumni influencers enthusiastically rallied fellow TACers to the cause, most notably Paul Grimes (’15), who inspired 50 gifts worth $2,506. In gratitude for his herculean efforts, Mr. Grimes will receive a six-bottle shipment of fine wines from Doctor’s Orders Natural Wine Company, courtesy of alumni vintners Anna (Dunlap) and Dominic O’Reilly (both ’12). Additionally, all alumni who made gifts of $50 or more were entered into a raffle for a one-year supply of excellent coffee from Verso L’Alto Coffee Roasters, thanks to its owners, Hannah (Flanders) and Johnny Richard (both ’13) and Samantha Flanders (’15). Winning the raffle and the coffee was alumna Patricia Elliot (’98).
“We who have been blessed to attend Thomas Aquinas College have been given a gift beyond measure,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “That gift was made possible by our founders’ sacrifices, and now it is our challenge, as alumni, to make that gift available for generations to come. On Tuesday — the sixth Alumni Day of Giving and the first to rely 100 percent on alumni gifts — TAC alumni more than rose to this challenge.”