Howard alumni, celebrating 50th anniversary raise more than $1.1 million for the school

Committing themselves to their alma mater, the Howard U. class of 1969 came up with monumental gift

Howard University
(Photo courtesy of Howard University, Washington, DC by Nikolaus Fogle, 2010)

An annual tradition at Howard University where alumni return to celebrate their 50-year class reunion will be remembered in an extra special way for years to come.

The class of 1969 announced on May 10 that they had raised more than $1.1 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year for their alma mater. The gift includes the Howard University Class of 1969 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund, an endowed fund that represents the largest class reunion gift in university history, according to a press release put out by the University.

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“We are so grateful to the class of 1969 for their generosity and extraordinary commitment to serving the Howard community,” said Sharon Strange Lewis, director of alumni relations. “Thank you to the planning committee for their vision and for working diligently to achieve this ambitious fundraising goal. As a result of their service, a new bar for other graduating classes and future alumni to follow has been set.”

Five years ago, the class of 1969 set a goal to raise $1 million for their half a century milestone. The class set up a planning committee and performed an exhaustive search for their entire class, asking each graduate to contribute to the fund. The committee was able to locate 298 members from the 1969 class to exceed their fundraising goal.

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“When we formed the committee, we began talking with financial planners and with President Frederick who was passionate about making sure Howard supported the effort and committed university resources to work with us,” said Edith Gee Jones, class of 1969 reunion chair. “Alumni affairs was a tremendous support, providing us with contact information, monitoring contributions along the way, and reporting on where we stood. When we rolled out the final figure, it really boosted our excitement.”

The class of 1969’s fundraising effort represented a new model that other reunion classes are now looking to for their 50th anniversary reunions.