Alumnae Leidy Denise Aviles ’18, Kathryn Van Demark ’16 and Puja Kranz-Howe ’18 show their love for Lesley.
The Lesley community celebrated the university’s first ever Day of Giving on April 9-10, bringing students, faculty, staff and alumni together around the shared goal of raising $25,000 in a 24-hour period. Under the hashtag #ImagineLesley, the community rallied to express support and to share its hopes for a bold future for the university, posting dozens of videos and photographs across Lesley’s social media accounts.
The campaign included voices of support from every corner of the Lesley campus, from Interim President Richard S. Hansen and women’s soccer coach Paul Vasconcelos to Professor Emerita Mary Mindess and an enthusiastic group of cheering Threshold students. Professor Mary Dockray-Miller urged people to support the Day of Giving in fluent Middle English, while Brenda Matthis, director of the PhD in Educational Studies department, spoke passionately about all the ways that gifts can help students, from scholarships to travel and study opportunities. Board of Trustees Chair Hans Strauch, whose Chairman’s Challenge matched every gift to Lesley’s Annual Fund, described how he first connected with Lesley 20 years ago when he was looking to support the cause of child literacy.
“It’s one of the most spectacular investments I’ve ever made,” he said.
Magi McKinnes, director of the Counseling Center and double alumna, encouraged support for the Urban Scholars Initiative while Tally, the campus therapy dog, silently encouraged donors as she curled up with an #ImagineLesley sign. Alumna Nicole Mello ‘18 recalled her Lesley days and the vital personal connections she made with friends, faculty and classmates.
“I want to support the community here at Lesley — it was probably my favorite thing about my time here.”
The inaugural 24-hour Giving Day was a runaway success, raising over $70,000, nearly three times the goal.
“Exceeding our preliminary goal by such a tremendous amount truly demonstrates the strength of the community spirit here at Lesley and the confidence we have in the university’s future,” said Tim Cross, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “It was a true team effort and we’re very grateful for the support of everyone who helped make Giving Day a success.”
Many other faculty, staff, students and friends recorded videos, including Professor Annie Pluto, Dean of the Graduate School of Education Amy Rutstein-Riley, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Steven Shapiro, Director of Communications John Sullivan, the young women of The Girlhood Project, Vice-President for Strategy and Implementation MaryPat Lohse, and the Ladies First A Cappella group.