(From the Winter 2001 Alumni Reveiw)
For any class, the 10th Reunion is the first "milestone reunion" for it is the first time when, as a body, a class is called upon to be leaders in support of VMI. "Since 1993 - the class of 1983's 10th Reunion - the Institute has looked to each 10th Reunion class to take a role in providing for VMI's future in the form of cash and short-term pledges to the funds under the aegis of Annual Giving," explained Meade King '85, the director of VMI Annual Giving and the VMI Foundation's development officer responsible for coordinating 10th Reunion Funds. "Since its creation and excellent start by the class of '83, these fundraising efforts have meant more than $2.5 million in aid to the Institute and the Corps of Cadets. Just as importantly, these drives have strengthened the participation of each class in Annual Giving."
On Sept. 23, 2000, the class of 1990 attended its 10th Reunion and, thanks to the dedication and diligence of many Brother Rats, made a 10th Reunion Fund gift of $279,590.90. "With such a gift, the class of 1990 establishes itself as one of the leading classes in the recent history of the Fund," said Meade King. "Just as important, they set an example of what can be done by younger alumni in support of the Institute."
According to King, the class of 1990 worked very hard to ensure its gift would be remarkable. "The class of 1990 made the 10th Reunion Fund a top priority and left almost no stone unturned in their effort. They even went so far as to enlist the support of the superintendent and the commandant who sent letters to the class, urging them to take part in the 10th Reunion Fund."
Leaders in the 10th Reunion Fund effort for the class of 1990 were class agent Mark Dick, Reunion Fund chairman Coley Rice, Charles Plageman, Mike Kemp and Peter Tunnard. "From the beginning," King said, "I could tell this would be a special effort. They were enthusiastic about their class's chance to stake out a leadership role and to make a statement about the importance of private support to VMI. Their energy and drive were inspiring."
An individual who deserves special credit, said King, was Kevin Handford. Kevin and his wife, Jennifer, run an estate and retirement planning service that often focuses on providing for charitable donations. "Kevin's work brought him to an appreciation of the importance of private support to hundreds of institutions that do so much for our country - museums, scientific research institutes, historical preservation organizations, and colleges and universities," explained King. "He was, therefore, quite mindful of how important private support is to VMI." This awareness prompted Kevin to make leadership gifts to the Foundation Fund, the Keydet Club Scholarship Fund and the Athletic Operations Fund. Kevin also set aside "challenge money" to encourage his Brother Rats to give to the 10th Reunion Fund.
This is one of the most impressive efforts I have seen on behalf of a Reunion Fund Drive," said King. "The hard work and tireless dedication of these men certainly should be a source of encouragement for those who wonder if the younger classes realize the importance of private support to VMI and are willing to take up the mantle of leadership in providing it," concluded King.
For more information on 10th Reunion Funds, please contact Meade King via the VMI Foundation's toll-free number, (800)444-1839, or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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