Every year, the graduating class leaves a gift behind as their legacy on the Manhattan College campus. These gifts can range from donations to worthy causes in the name of the class, money towards the purchasing of new campus features or in the case of the class of 2017, growing a scholarship.
This year’s class gift will be a memorial scholarship in honor of Father George Hill, MC’s chaplain of nine years who passed away at the beginning of the school year.
The senior class gift committee said in an email sent out to the senior class: “We are also excited to announce the details of our Senior Class Gift. In loving memory of our Chaplain, Father George Hill, we will be creating a scholarship with the money we raise. During his nine years spent serving our Manhattan College community, Father Hill has touched many of our lives dearly with weekly church services and meditations. We would like to continue his service to our Manhattan College student body by creating this scholarship in his honor.”
Eight seniors make up the class gift committee: Margaret Ryan, Monica Panyu, Gianna Del Giorno, Kelly Freeman, Julia McKee, Madison Swenton, Patrick Keegan and Dorian Persaud. These eight seniors were given the idea of doing a memorial scholarship during their first meeting and were immediately interested.
As reported last semester in The Quadrangle, it was clear that Hill left a tremendous impact on the students he befriended in his years here.
“We chose to create a scholarship in loving memory for Father Hill to continue his legacy he left here on campus. He touched the lives of so many in our community so we wanted to continue his service to students through the creation of this scholarship,” said Kelly Freeman, a senior on the class gift committee.
Class gifts in the past have focused on physical objects. In 2013, the money raised by the senior class went towards new benches on the quad. In 2014, the money went to the building of Kelly Commons. In 2015, the money went to the new stained glass windows which were put in at the end of the 2016 school year. In 2016, the class devoted their fundraising to updated library terrace furniture.
“This is different from class gifts in the past because it is honoring a person who was very special and valued by the students. The actual gift will be a scholarship in [Reverend] George Hill’s name. It’s something that is contributing directly to an incoming student at MC so I think it’s super personal which makes it stand out,” said Margaret Ryan, another senior on the class gift committee.
The committee is advised by Kevin Brewer, Director of Annual Giving. Brewer graduated from Manhattan in 2010 and remembers one senior class gift during his time here, which was a donation to the American Red Cross and helping those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti.
Brewer just began his new position back in October of 2016. Within his department, he is in charge of student fundraising which ultimately includes the senior class gift committee.
Those in his department helped brainstorm this scholarship and the committee instantly became interested.
“This year’s gift isn’t tangible, it’s not visible; you wouldn’t see it on the Quad, per say. It’s a different way of fundraising and it’ll hopefully educate current students in the different ways how to give [to the college] in the future as alumni,” said Brewer.
The Father George Hill Memorial Scholarship will be considered an endowed scholarship, which means the senior class will be donating the entirety of their fundraising to the scholarship in Hill’s honor so it is able to help students many years into the future. This scholarship isn’t the first endowed scholarship the college has offered.
There are four major endowed scholarships, which can be found on the Manhattan College website, were all donated in memory or honor of past alumni: The Walter C. Camas ’52 Scholarship is for those with academic success in the School of Business, established in Camas’ memory by his nephew, Robert G. Pulver ’69.
The Dean Robert Vizza Scholarship, was established by Joan and Robert Vizza to provide tuition assistance to those within the School of Business.
The J. Claude Gaulin, MD ’52 Memorial Scholarship, established in memory of Gaulin to provide tuition assistance to those within the School of Science.
The Mary Jane and James J. Lee Scholarship, provides help to high school students from northern New Jersey schools, namely those who received other scholarships through the Scholarship Fund for Inner City Children.
Although the specifics of the Father Hill Memorial Scholarship have not been set up, the fundraising goal is $50,000. Around three-percent of this would be given each year as the scholarship continues to gain interest, allowing it to be given to a student or students for many years to come.
“Ideally the scholarship will become an endowed scholarship through the student fundraisers. In the future it could be a scholarship students can apply for on a yearly basis and we hope to impact deserving students,” said Brewer.
Asking for donations isn’t the only plan for the senior class gift committee as their job is to also provide fun activities and award bonus gifts for larger donations. The committee has planned three levels of donations, all with incentives to donate.
On the gold level donation, if a senior donates $100, it will ensure a “50-Days” Party ticket (the celebration when graduation is fifty days away), free entry to Manhattan College’s young alumni event at Boat Basin, class t-shirt, and Manhattan College wine glass.
A silver level donation, if a senior donates $50, will ensure the “50 Days” ticket, the t-shirt and the wine glass.
A bronze level donation, if a senior donates $20.17, will ensure the party ticket and a t-shirt.
Seniors are encouraged to donate as much as they can, especially since it is going towards a good cause. Other incentives include raffle tickets for a chance to win tickets to a Mets game.
The senior class gift committee and Brewer’s department will meet at the end of the year to see how much money they have raised. Ultimately, they will decide on who gets the scholarship and how much with the help of those in charge of scholarships. The plan is to make the scholarship unrestricted but to make it need-based.
The committee is running all of the fundraising activities to excite the seniors to graduate in the near future, all while creating a lasting impact long after they’ve gone.
“I wanted to get involved with the senior class gift because Manhattan College has given me the most wonderful and unique 4 years, so it only seems right to give back to the community that has given me so much,” said Ryan.