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President Targett takes selfie with Senior Class Gift donors


Photo by Evan Krape

Senior Class Gift donors attend special event at President's House

Finals are under way, Commencement is quickly approaching and the post-college world is looming in many seniors’ thoughts.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for some barbecue and a moment to reflect on all that UD has meant to the Class of 2016.

In a rare afternoon of sunshine this month, President Nancy Targett invited all Senior Class Gift donors to her home on May 18 for a cookout, some fun and a few words of gratitude for their commitment and generosity. It was a time to grab a burger or jump into a game of corn hole — and to also consider the great impact senior donations can have.

“The Class of 2016 is absolutely a giving bunch,” said Targett. “They want to make a difference and have an impact on future Blue Hens and our institution is better for it.”

So far, more than 500 seniors have collectively contributed more than $15,000 to the Senior Class Gift, benefiting a range of programs, student groups, colleges and teams.

“The school has given us so much besides a good education,” said senior Alyson Grassi. “It’s given us a good environment to have new experiences and lots of new friends. It’s important to give back so future students can have the same experiences we had — or better.”

All afternoon, the president’s doors stayed open for potential guests. “Even if they haven’t made a gift, they can when they get here,” said Tim Johnson, associate director of leadership annual giving. 

Having been roommates and best friends since their freshman year, seniors Lisa Bonaviso and Morgan Rocco appreciated the opportunity to share some time together before going separate ways after graduation. Despite having spent the last four years side-by-side as close friends, they both allocated their gifts very differently.  

Bonaviso traveled to Kentucky this past spring through UD’s Alternative Spring Break (UDAB) program and chose to support UDAB with her donation. 

“I can honestly say it changed my life,” explained Bonaviso. “Not everyone can go to college and have the experiences I’ve had so it’s important to give back.”

Rocco elected to support her sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha. 

“I wanted to give back to these girls who have done so much for me,” explained Rocco. “Our generation really does have the power to make social change a reality. I think if other people our age see us having a philanthropic impact on the world, they’ll want to do the same.”

Many seniors found it rewarding to give to the Senior Class Gift. “If every student gives $20.16 or whatever they can, then collectively that’s a huge amount of money that can positively impact our soon to be alma mater,” said senior Kimberly Lervoline.

Senior Molly Nichols praised the “give to your passion” option. “I love being here so much,” she said. “I also love that you can choose to give to your department, or a registered student organization, or a UD program. I gave to the math department – if I get super-duper rich, I’m going to buy them their own building.”

For seniors Colleen Sweeney and Melanie Steiger, it was UD’s vibrant Greek culture that inspired their support. “It changed our lives,” Sweeney said.

Even Targett shared plans to contribute to the Senior Class Gift, being that she will be receiving an honorary doctorate degree from the University this year, making her a member of the Class of 2016. No word yet on what she plans to support.

In addition to being invited to the president’s home, seniors who support the Senior Class Gift receive a special donor tassel for graduation. Students can wear their tassels with pride as they walk in Commencement knowing that just as UD will always support them, their gifts will help to support UD.

For those who have yet to support the Senior Class Gift, it is not too late. Interested students can make a gift now by visiting the Senior Class Gift website.

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