Lasting Impressions


by Kirk Swenson, Vice President for College Advancement

One of my earliest lessons in philanthropy came at the kitchen table when I was 10 years old, courtesy of my mother. She must have served lima beans for dinner because I was the last one left at the table, sentenced to remain seated until I cleaned my plate. When the phone rang, I listened to one side of a phone call that puzzled me. I remember hearing my mom commit to sending a check before hanging up. Who had called? Why would she give them money?

My mother explained that she made a gift every year to support the college that had provided her with an education that improved her life. She believed it was her responsibility to give back, to continue to make a contribution at a school that was committed to educating young people. She told me it was her privilege to do so. That lesson clearly lived in my subconscious for over a decade before it profoundly shaped my life and career.

Since I joined the Dickinson community in the summer of 2016, I’ve met hundreds, perhaps thousands of Dickinsonians. I’ve had the chance to confirm many of my initial impressions and to form some new ones. I’m pleased to report that I am just as optimistic today about the future of the college as I was on that first day.

Dickinson has a dynamic new president who is charting a new course for the college’s future. When I sit with a student in the Dining Hall for lunch, serve on a committee or meet with a small group of Dickinsonians, I come away feeling inspired and even a bit humbled. These are tremendous young people—bright, hard-working, impressive and entrepreneurial. And our students are educated by the rarest of scholars—faculty who are deeply invested in both the intellectual and personal growth of their students. This makes all the difference, as our students leave Carlisle prepared to do real and lasting good in the world.

One thing I’ve learned that sets Dickinsonians apart is the level of appreciation they have for their Dickinson education. It may be the friendships they formed here or the camaraderie of a team, and often it is the caring of a great teacher that set them firmly on their path. I’ve been privileged to work with many donors to help them realize their plans for giving back to Dickinson, and each time I am inspired by their generosity. Last year, total gifts and pledges to the college grew by nearly 60 percent over the previous year!

Philanthropic support is not required of anyone, and yet thousands choose to contribute their financial resources to the college each year. They give because they want to repay the generosity of others from which they benefited. They give because they are grateful for their Dickinson education. They give because they want to ensure that same opportunity for future students. And they give because they want to play a role in the exciting future of the college.

As we round the halfway mark of fiscal year 2017-18, the Dickinson Fund Impact will give you a glimpse into the impact those gifts are having so far. Momentum is building for Dickinson, and on behalf of our faculty, students and coaches, I offer our sincere thanks for those who see their gifts to Dickinson as a way to improve the world.


Dickinson Needs You

With six months left in the fiscal year (which ends June 30, 2018), there’s still plenty of time to help the Dickinson Fund reach its dollar and participation goals. But we can’t make it without you. To reach our participation goal of 25 percent, we need 2,673 alumni to make a gift this spring. To reach our dollar goal of $5.2 million, we need all Dickinsonians to contribute before July 1.

That might seem like a lot, but Dickinsonians can do great things when we all come together. Make your gift today, and—besides helping to reach these goals—you’ll make Dickinson possible for a student who couldn’t otherwise afford tuition, help a professor take a student on a research trip, provide new resources for the library or athletics, bring expert speakers in science and art to campus, and much more. Every gift—of every size—makes a difference!

Read more from the winter 2018 issue of Dickinson Magazine.



Published January 30, 2018