“That’s $24,000 more than last year, and $174,000 of it came from on-campus giving,” said Rhonda Banks, director of alumni relations and annual giving.
More than 1,000 people showed up at the annual A-Day celebration and barbecue Friday to support the cause, according to Edward Murray, coordinator of special events.
“Even though we are struggling as a country economically, people still find a way to give. That’s what America is all about,” said Carissa Sherard Verdree, a 2003 graduate.
The campus amphitheater was filled with alumni, faculty, students and their family and friends sitting at dining tables draped in fall colored tablecloths. Children enjoyed carnival-type games and sidewalk chalk art, while others danced in celebration to a performance by Sassyfrass.
“We love being here,” lead singer Dana Jackson said. “This is our home. I did my undergraduate work here, and all of our band members attended here. It’s been amazing.”
The fundraising campaign is essential to help “fill the gap” of state funding so the university can provide additional resources such as scholarships, faculty development, academic support and student traveling needs, according to Banks.
“The school is a good contrast of culture and the instructors always were supportive,” Verdree said. “I wish I was able to give more and support them even more than I do.”