Published: Fall 1996 in Giving

Stories & Myths

by Don Low ’81, President of the Alumni Association

As alumni president, I have the unique opportunity to speak with alums from every era in Westmont’s history. I hear stories about eating meals in the Kerrwood cafeteria, the fire, Homecoming parades on State Street, and NAIA national championships. Then there are those weird stories—rapelling by rope down the front of Page Hall, every fork from the DC stuck into the lawn, and engaged men getting thrown in the duck pond.

I also hear stories of struggle, academic probation, love, spiritual rebirth, questioning, and finding answers. One consistent fact emerges in these conversations: Westmont has made an indelible impression on their lives, molding their careers, perspectives, and friendships.

Then I wonder why alums don’t give back to Westmont. Why do only 14 percent of alums contribute to the college? Here are brief answers to the five most commonly held myths about supporting Westmont:

1. I gave plenty to Westmont when I was a student.

It may surprise you to know that your tuition at Westmont didn’t cover the entire cost of your education. Gifts from alums and friends like you made up the difference. Donors helped to support you while you were here.

2. I already have commitments to give to my church and/or other non-profit organizations.

Westmont would never dissuade you from supporting other ministries or organizations. However, we ask you to consider making Westmont one of your top three giving priorities.

3. I’m not in a position to make a gift that is significant.

Many small gifts add up to a lot of help. Also, foundations and corporations considering major gifts to Westmont often ask about the number of alumni donors.

4. The college relies primarily on tuition for its operating budget. Gifts really aren’t that important.

Au contraire. The long-term health and success of Westmont depends on alumni giving, which supports the endowment, capital improvements, faculty salaries, and scholarships. Tuition can’t meet all these expenses. Unlike state-supported schools, we need donations for basic expenses, not “wish-list” extras.

5. Westmont always seems to be asking its alums for money.

Actually, I wonder if we ask enough. If Westmont has truly affected our lives, I think we have an obligation to encourage each other to support the college financially.

What stories will future generations of students tell? Your gift will help us continue Westmont’s tradition of excellent academics and committed Christian community and ministry. Let’s keep the saga going.

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