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Summer 2003 | Volume 26, Number 3 | Campaign
A Gift at Any Age
Young Alums Support Campaign With Endowment

to do with it? Just ask the members of Seattle Pacific University’s Young Alumni Council (YAC) and they’ll tell you it has very little to do with lending support to SPU.

Asia Rau ’97 and Doug Koskela ’95 took the lead in establishing the YAC Scholarship Endowment.
"There is this false notion out there that you should be 10, 20 or 30 years out before you consider being willing to support your alma mater financially, through attendance at events or by volunteer work,” says Mindy Galbreath ’00, president of YAC. “The Young Alumni Council is breaking that mold.”

Through the creation of the Young Alumni Council Scholarship Endowment, the Council is working harder than ever to alter the traditional perception. The new initiative, designed with young alumni in mind, makes it possible for a group of people to combine their resources and support a cause they believe in. The end goal? To recognize and foster both academic achievement and community service by giving scholarships to students who embody the University’s vision for “engaging the culture and changing the world.”

For Asia Rau ’97, past president of YAC, her sister was her inspiration. “My sister works at a nonprofit camp in Missouri with innercity kids while most of her friends have ‘real’ summer jobs or enjoy their summer off,” says Rau. “I shared this with a few others on the Council, and we started to think about how we could acknowledge such students at SPU. Suddenly, we all looked at each other and said, ‘Why not create a scholarship endowment?’”

In addition to supporting students, the endowment supports the University in other tangible ways, says Doug Koskela ’95, Seattle Pacific theology instructor and YAC Scholarship Committee chair. “These students are really our ambassadors in the community. They represent the best that SPU has to offer. The scholarships will help make visible students who ‘walk their talk’ in the classroom and in the wider community.”

YAC’s efforts also have great importance to the University’s largest-ever fund-raising campaign, says Vice President for University Advancement Bob McIntosh. “The percentage of alumni giving is an indication of the health and vitality of an institution,” he says. “It is also a signal to grant-making organizations that Seattle Pacific graduates are in support of the University’s mission. The great news is that there are now more alumni giving to SPU than ever before. And the Young Alumni Council has been instrumental in reaching young alums and encouraging them to participate.”

To do just that, YAC hosted “Beyond Nickerson: The Young Alumni Endowment Dinner” on campus in April. More than 80 people attended, and $9,000 was raised to support the new endowment. The total raised now stands at $14,400.

“This is a first,” says McIntosh of the young alumni dinner. “It was one of the most memorable things to happen on campus this past year.”

“I’m hoping this will be an annual event,” says Rau. “Not only because of its freshman-year success, but also because it’s a great way to draw young alumni into becoming involved and supporting a great cause.”

Formed in 1987, YAC is comprised of individuals who have attended Seattle Pacific for at least one full year within the past 10 years, and who seek to promote the mission and goals of the University. The YAC Scholarship Committee, now a standing committee of the Council, is responsible for fund raising, publicizing the endowment, developing scholarship criteria and evaluating applications. The first scholarships will be granted for the 2004-05 academic year.

"We don’t want to stop here,” says Koskela. “As we continue to build this endowment, we will be able to impact more students in more substantial ways. I would encourage young alumni to consider joining in this team effort to make a difference for students, for the community and for Seattle Pacific University.”

Editor’s Note: For more information about the SPU Young Alumni Council, call Laila Sharpe at 206/281-2449.


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