Funding future Oilers: UF’s senior class gift will be philanthropic

By Hannah Dunbar
@hanndunbar

In years past, senior classes have created and donated physical landmarks that can be found on campus such as the Old Main Bell Tower, a gift from the classes of 1953 and 2003, and the Oil Derrick Fountain, 1956 and 2006 class gifts.

Two years ago, senior class gifts made the transition from memorabilia to scholarship. Todd LaComba, director of annual giving, explains the reasoning behind giving scholarships.

“A senior class gift is a nice piece but we are more concerned with the philanthropic education,” said LaComba. “Starting education from freshman year will hopefully make students more aware of the idea of philanthropy by their senior year.”

According to LaComba, university advancement had found that students were not aware their parents had given for their senior class gift.

“We found that a lot of seniors’ parents made the gift and the seniors were not aware of it,” said LaComba. “It was not educating the students on the importance of philanthropy.”

LaComba says that the unawareness was a factor that contributed to the idea of giving to a scholarship..

The director of annual giving is not the only person who believes the focus on philanthropy is needed. Dakota Esterline, senior pre-vet/biology major, said the idea of giving a scholarship needs to be recognized more often.

“I think it’s fantastic our class has moved from giving a physical object to giving this scholarship. Yes, a bell tower is great but that is not what a university needs to survive,” said Esterline.

The Findlay Fund Class of 2015 Scholarship will be awarded in 2015-16 to a student at the University of Findlay, based on financial need, according to the University of Findlay website.

According to the University of Findlay website, the Findlay Fund is a gift designation that has been created as a way to make a gift that will touch the lives of every student at the University of Findlay.

“This gift will ensure the longevity of the University of Findlay by giving prospective students the ability to attend this esteemed school and achieve their dreams,” said Esterline.

LaComba hopes the effort the senior class is making to give to the scholarship will help other students to understand the importance of giving back.

“As I’ve contacted younger alumni, they had no idea their parents made a gift,” said LaComba. “I’ve asked the alumni who gave to the Cory Street Mall Project if they would like to hear stories about what we’ve done with the funds and they just gave me blank stares. They had no idea what I was talking about.”

LaComba says he hopes to get involved in the education of students regarding philanthropy.

“I think in the future we will be able to get into the classrooms and do some educational pieces,” said LaComba. “Not just making it about the University but about philanthropy as a whole.”

Hoping to see a trend of scholarships in the years to come, Esterline explains why giving back is important.

“Students graduating, going out into the world, and making something of themselves is what the University of Findlay is all about, so why not help others experience this?” said Esterline. “There couldn’t be a better gift that my class could give back to the institution.”

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