Annual Giving is about more than financial support -- it’s a demonstration of Tiger spirit. The effort is composed of Princetonians working together across generations to keep the University strong and ensure that talented students can have the same Princeton experience that enriched their own lives.
Annual Giving is a reflection of the commitment by alumni, parents, and friends to support and expand Princeton's mission of teaching and research. “Annual Giving is about all of us together, the mighty and the modest, creating exceptional opportunities at Princeton.”
Kentucky native Kevin Smith is driven to “help the people of Appalachia in any way I can.” So why does he volunteer for Princeton? “It’s an easy answer,” he says. “The experience I had at the Woodrow Wilson School, the contact with the faculty, the wide interests of the students, has made my current work possible.”
The world has changed in countless ways during the 25 years that separate this year’s 50th and 25th Reunion classes -- from 1964 to 1989 -- but one thing remains the same: the devotion these classes have to Princeton. From Annual Giving to academic support, and from funding for athletics to new structures and improved facilities, they have contributed meaningfully to Princeton’s present and future.
Princeton’s Reunions are legendary: thousands of alumni converging on campus in a festival that brings together old friends, oceans of orange and black, high energy, and treasured memories. What makes Princetonians return, year after year?
Jim Balassone has been involved in Princeton fundraising for 46 years, and is currently special gifts co-chair for the Class of 1964’s 50th Reunion campaign. “Every contact with a fellow Princetonian, whether someone I knew at Princeton or someone I have met in recent years, has proven to be its own reward,” he says.
When Robert Gleason reflects on what Princeton means to him, he focuses on “the concept of continuity. We honor Princetonians who came before, and work to make an even better experience for the students of the future.” He appreciates “the huge strides the University has made to welcome, accept, and celebrate LGBT students, and all kinds of students. That makes me want to double down on my volunteer commitment.”
Spring weather brings a buzz of outdoor activity to campus to relieve the rigors and routines of academic pursuits. From club sports competitions to dances on Scudder Plaza and other informal activities, new energy emerges as the end of the school year approaches. The Princeton community comes alive with biking, rugby, outdoor yoga, beach volleyball, and cricket.
Marina Mitchell, chair of Annual Giving for the Graduate School, came to Princeton from the Republic of Georgia to pursue a master’s degree at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “I am from a country where family and friends are extremely important,” she says. “You live among a close group of people who really care about one another. When I came here from Georgia, that is what Princeton gave me. That, and a superb education. Now I’m trying to give back to Princeton.”
Many elements contribute to the Princeton experience: a distinguished faculty, an exceptional and diverse student body, an unparalleled residential setting, and extraordinary library, laboratory, and computing resources. Annual Giving plays a critical role in each of these areas, which make a direct and immediate difference in the lives of current students.