By Maxwell McKee, Chief Copy Editor
The response to the I Love HC Challenge, which took place just over a month ago on Valentine’s Day, was overwhelming, and the success of the drive resounding. It was clear as the day went on that the initial goal of 4,000 donors was going to be surpassed. Rev. Father Boroughs, S.J., even encouraged all Crusaders to strive for a new goal of 5,000. In the end, 6,111 donors contributed $1,848,787, a result that shattered the previous donor record at a liberal arts college, set by Colgate in 2013.
Now that some time—and, sadly, Spring Break—has passed, we might take some time to reflect on what exactly the success of the drive means to those at the College and to those beyond our gates. While the figures of the drive say a great deal, the words of those both at the College and in the greater Holy Cross community say even more.
For Sean Teebagy ’17, Co-Chair of the Senior Gift Committee, 50% of the senior class donating to the cause was “an amazing figure,” and it also speaks volumes about past students of the College and sends an important message to future ones. “In addition to representing our love for Holy Cross, it shows the character Holy Cross fosters within all of its alumni,” Sean said. “Approaching graduation, the Class of 2017 has begun to reflect and fully appreciate our Holy Cross experience. We understand that it is our duty—as men and women for and with others—to ensure that younger Crusaders have the same privileges we had as students.”
The drive had a lasting impact not only on students, but on professors as well. One of those professors was Helen Whall, of the English Department. In a video thank-you to the 3,000th donor to the I Love HC Challenge, Professor Whall recited Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. The very personal reward, for her, was hearing from past students who had seen the video of her reading online. She said, “Holy Cross alums are loyal in ways that go beyond giving money. My favorite note came from one of my first students. He thanked me for helping him become the only stand up comedian in NYC who gets a laugh from the punch line ‘Iambic pentameter.’ I’m not kidding: that made my day!
Beyond the students and professors who come to campus every day, the challenge brightened the days of many alumni. Two alumni in particular, Rick Patterson ’80 and Bob Moriarty ’83, also members of the Board of Trustees, found the time to stop by campus to witness the fervor going around on Feb. 14. Rick said, “Beyond the many sung Valentines wishes around Cool Beans, I was wowed by the enthusiasm for the Challenge. The Senior Class was all in, contacting friends and even helping us contact possible donors in hard-to-reach states to help us get all 50. The highlight was joining the seniors in the pub and their cheers for milestones reached, for their class and overall.
Fellow Board of Trustees member Bob Moriarty expressed his admiration for the dedication of the students. “When I made my gift at 12:07am on Feb. 14th, 4,000 donors seemed like an insurmountable hill to climb. However, by late afternoon, the amazing HC community proved me wrong as we blew past 4,000 with plenty of time to spare.”
He continued, “When on campus that evening for the board’s investment committee meeting, we noticed a plateau suggesting the 24-hour donor record was likely out of our reach,” Bob noted. “But, once again, the incredible spirit of HC proved me wrong as we not only broke the record but also topped 6,000 total donors.” Like Rick, Bob joined students at the culminating Pub night to celebrate the successes of the day, and found that first-hand experience most rewarding.
From students and professors to members of the Board of Trustees, the I Love HC Challenge has allowed members of Holy Cross to connect with their community in meaningful ways. With the semester already speeding past us, let us not forget what a special experience we are provided with while at the College, and how nice it is to give our thanks for that special opportunity. And seniors, don’t forget that while the 50% was an amazing figure, you still have the rest of the year to make your class gift, and topple even more records than those set on Valentine’s Day this year during the I Love HC Challenge.