Friday, March 12, 2010

Lake Forest Day on Facebook

Today is Lake Forest Day on Facebook. Inspired by the generosity of Grace Groner '31 last week and the way that story went viral on the internet, in the media, and especially all over Facebook, my friend Derek at the College has organized a day for all alums, friends, faculty, and families to show their own love for LFC through donating to the Annual Fund and then bragging about it on Facebook.

As Derek said in his email, "Grace made a tremendous gift that will help some of our students realize their dreams of studying abroad. But there are many other programs that need funding, and for that, we rely on hundreds of smaller gifts from people like you."

Put another way by Grace's attorney, Bill Marlatt, on Little Merry Sunshine last week, "You hit on the meaning of her gift when you responded with a desire to help the College. None of us are self made. We have all been helped along over the years. Groner Fellows will have an obligation to help and mentor other fellows coming after them. People sometimes ask who owns a college. Well it is owned by those who have graduated from it. It is strong when this shared resource is given to others." (emphasis mine)

Grace lived her life in such a way that her legacy will impact many future generations of Foresters. While her gift is impressive and makes us all proud to be Foresters, it's not enough. Even though we may not have $7 million to give today, we can each do a little. And when we each do a little on a consistent basis, that adds up to a lot and makes all the difference.

Even though I've already made my annual donation to the College, I'm making another one today because I believe so strongly in helping other students achieve their dreams. I've made no secret of the fact that I would never have been able to attend Lake Forest without the generous financial aid package I was given each of my four years. While some of my financial aid came in the form of loans and state and federal grants, a good portion of it came from Lake Forest College alumni who had generously donated over the years. As a result, I believe that I have an obligation to help other students have the incredible opportunities I had by supporting programs on campus through donations to the Annual Fund.

Sometimes, when I think back on my life and ask some of those "what if" questions, I wonder what if I'd gone to the other school I was deciding between rather than Lake Forest. How much more debt would I have had because all they offered me were loans? Would I still keep in touch with my professors the way I keep in touch with professors at LFC? Would members of the administration still know me by name all these years later? Would I have learned to take risks the way I did at LFC and graduated knowing how to have faith that the net would appear when I jumped and if it didn't how to pick myself up and start over? I have a number of friends who went to that other school I was considering and based on their experiences, I'd have to say the answer to each of those questions is no.

Lake Forest College holds a special place in my heart and I imagine it holds a special place in the hearts of other many Foresters, as well.

If you're one of those Foresters or if you're just moved by my love for my alma mater, please visit the Alumni Gateway and make a donation today. Remember, a little does a lot, so any size donation you make will have a big impact. Oh, and brag about it on Facebook*. Let's paint Facebook Red and Black today.

*When you choose to brag about your donation on Facebook, the post just says you made a donation with a picture of the College's logo. No one will know how much you donated.

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