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Upward spiral

Upward spiral

Staff December 05, 2023

In torch lounge in Kennedy Union, on a blue-sky fall day, alumni volunteers presented their ideas about how to engage others with the University. Dave Conway ’83, an entrepreneur from Cincinnati, offered a phrase to consider when sharing UD’s campaign goals of philanthropy, engagement and

“Thank you if you have, and we need you if you haven’t.”

Volunteers spanning five decades of Flyers support UD's campaign goals.

It was a statement that resonated with the volunteers gathered around the table. Deb Flanagan Tobias ’73, chair of the campaign cabinet, stopped the group to reflect on the power of both personal invitation and individual thank-you. The volunteers nodded their heads and continued the conversation, which was focused on how to inform and invite more alumni and friends to engage with the University during We Soar. 

Formed in 2020, the campaign cabinet works in conjunction with University administration and the board of trustees by using personal networks to educate and engage alumni and friends to increase access through scholarships, expand hands-on learning and propel academic innovation.

They’ve found great success. For example, they are hosting small gatherings in their communities, bringing new people to the table and making the case for donations. “Their energy and enthusiasm for UD is infectious,” said Chris Morrison ’85, vice president for advancement, “and they have helped advance the campaign toward exceeding the philanthropic goal of $400 million.”

“Their energy and enthusiasm for UD is infectious, and they have helped advance the campaign toward exceeding the philanthropic goal of $400 million.”

While each member’s contributions have been stellar, few of them knew what they were signing up for when asked to serve, Morrison said. After all, it has been more than 20 years since the University’s last comprehensive campaign. 

“And still they said ‘yes’ — a very Marianist response,” he said.

They’ve contributed in a myriad of ways, thanks in part to new volunteers diversifying the voices, perspectives, experiences and networks of the cabinet: The 22 members represent graduates from 1963 to 2018. Business experience includes technology, construction, fundraising, education, communication and more. They hail from the northeast to the southwest U.S. And they bring with them volunteer experience from UD advisory councils, including those of law, business, athletics and parents.

In addition to the vice chairs (see story, Page 6), campaign cabinet volunteers also include John Aggrey ’82, Courtney Beasley ’10, Tim Brabender ’81, Chris Brill ’05, Adrian Costello ’90, Kristin Dailey ’98, Destry Fallen ’86, Lyric Fields ’18, Margaret Jones ’90, Greg Palmer ’78, Nadaya Parks ’16, Lynton Scotland ’84, Linda Skuns ’63, Colleen Stine ’06 and Kathy Tamer ’73. 

Parks, who is based in Texas and works with quality systems, is also a volunteer with UD’s day10 committee, which engages young alumni. At the fall meeting, she urged the cabinet to continue bolstering its messaging on social media; after all, that’s where her generation meets up and shares information.

It’s just the kind of advice that will build toward today’s successes as well as the future of philanthropy and engagement at UD.

One relationship at a time