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Class of 1959 Ups the Ante for the Class of 2009

By Susan Clarey

When the Student Council decided in early 2008 to seek student donations in support of the College’s financial aid, Giles Kemp ’72 sweetened the pot with a 10:1 matching gift. By June 2008, the students had raised $2,579 for “Fund the Future” which became a gift of almost $28,364, thanks to Kemp.

In late 2007, Swarthmore had announced the enhancement of its financial aid packages to include a “no loan” provision that replaced required student loans with College scholarship dollars.

This year, the Class of 1959 upped the ante, telling the graduating Class of 2009 that they would increase the match for the senior class gift to 50:1—a dollar for every year that separates the two classes.

With both matches, the Class of 2009’s gift to Fund the Future snowballed to $192,299.

The catalyst for the joint gift was a meeting last fall between Charles Harris, president of the Class of 1959, and Student Council President Yongjun Heo ’09. “Heo confirmed that Swarthmore is still home to the intense academic focus that I remember,” Harris says. “But I was particularly impressed with the proliferation of extracurricular activities, including social action and community projects.”

“Heo told me that financial aid made it possible for him to come to Swarthmore,” Harris continued. “Sharing this information with my classmates helped solidify support for dedicating our reunion gift to financial aid. We hope that this alliance between classes half a century apart will set a precedent for future 50th reunions.”

For their part, seniors were delighted. “My initial reaction was disbelief and then extreme gratitude,” said Maurice Weeks ’09, one of several class agents who raised funds for the class gift. “The commitment made by the Class of ’59 strengthens Swarthmore relationships across class years.”

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