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Monmouth College’s Second Scots Day of Giving crushes its goal, raises $217,082 to support students

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Scots Day of Giving is catching on.

One year after the day raised nearly $170,000 for Monmouth College in its debut year, the 18-hour, 53-minute day of fundraising surged past that mark, also “crushing” its 2018 goal of $185,300.

By the end of the day, 667 alumni and friends had joined to give $217,082 to Monmouth.

“We crushed our dollar goal for the day,” said Monmouth Director of Development and Alumni Engagement Hannah Maher during a break from one of 19 Facebook Live interviews with members of the campus community. “There’s been such a great energy and excitement our alumni have given us throughout the day. Even though they’re not here on campus, that energy is palpable – you can feel it.”

Dubbed Scots Day of Giving to commemorate the College’s founding on April 18, 1853, the event’s second year once again attracted contributions from all 50 U.S. states. The money it raised will be used to support scholarships and financial aid, along with special co-curricular initiatives and programs.

For Vice President for Development and College Relations John Osterlund, his first Scots Day of Giving was an opportunity to experience what makes Monmouth a distinctive college.

“It’s really exciting to see the goal being met, but it’s not surprising given the culture of philanthropy that exists within our generous alumni base,” said Osterlund. “This has been a great celebration of the founding of Monmouth College 165 years ago, and it’s wonderful to see its relevance and its reputation are still so strong all these years later.”

Throughout the day, a cowbell rang in Mellinger Commons in the Center for Science and Business each time another state had become part of Tartan Nation by producing a donor. Shortly before 4 p.m., with eight hours still remaining in Scots Day, first-time gifts from Vermont and Hawaii pushed the money raised past last year’s total.

Ninety minutes later, the final state to come in was Maine, courtesy of a gift from former Monmouth President Sue Huseman, ensuring that all $50,000 of a $1,000 pledge per state represented was raised. The 2018 goal of $185,300 was surpassed at 5:46 p.m.

In addition to raising money to support current students, Scots Day of Giving provided a way for the College’s alumni, parents and friends to come together via social media. Additionally, seven official alumni gatherings were held across the United States.

One of the alumni who joined in early on the social media fun was Hope Grebner Bibens ’11 of Windsor Heights, Iowa.

“Nothing beats the sounds of bagpipes in the morning! I just made my gift to @Monmouth – will you?” Bibens posted early in the day. She added later in the day, “And now I’m listening to bagpipe music in my office.”

“As an alum and proud father, so happy for the opportunities Monmouth has afforded my daughter @RyleeMann in her freshman year!” posted Dave Mann ’95 of Metamora, Ill. “Looking forward to see what she will achieve in the next 3!”

And some of the posts were from close to home.

“I have made so many memories and have met so many friends because of Monmouth College,” posted Jennifer Erickson Sanberg ’10, who works in the College’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center. “I am proud to support my alma mater on #ScotsDay18.”

“Excited to support @Monmouth on #ScotsDay18!” posted Amanda Havens Pilger ’07 of Monmouth, who is married to Joe Pilger ’08. “@PrincipalPilger & I donated to MC’s Rural Teachers Initiative. We are proud Ed Studies alumni!”

The rural teachers initiative was one of three crowdfunding projects donors supported during the day. The others were Classics Day and a 3-D ceramic printer.

“We tried some new things this year – new challenges, such as the crowdfunding,” said Maher. “It was so exciting to see our alumni help us meet those challenges and help make Monmouth a leader with these opportunities. I think we’ll be the first liberal arts college in the state with a 3-D ceramic printer, so our alumni are really helping make Monmouth stand out.”