As I type this, a winter wonderland has descended over western Massachusetts. Yet, I trust as you read this, there is hope that Mother Nature has delivered us the promise of spring.
As the seasons change in our beautiful part of the world, so does the activity on campus. There is absolutely no chance of hibernation here as student research nears completion, internship commitments are fulfilled, rehearsals for spring musical and theater events are underway, and international travel opportunities are considered.
There has been no slowing down on the advancement front, either. Through your generosity, fiscal year 2018 was an incredible fundraising success. Results include more scholarships, a “virtual” endowment for our library and Massachusetts Historical Journal, the creation of a Last Mile fund for seniors who are close to graduating but might not have the financial resources to cross the finish line, and the recent challenge gift toward the creation of an endowment for the Albert and Amelia Ferst Interfaith enter. Our Foundation was founded nearly 40 years ago to help create this inclusive interfaith center on campus.
We keep our students busy outside the classroom as they continue to reach out to alumni to thank you for your support and ask about your Westfield State experience. They will continue this outreach throughout the spring, and I hope you will greet them warmly. On the event front, we will host both the annual Interfaith Breakfast and our increasingly successful #GiveAHoot on April 10, and the student-centered Pathways event in May.
I want to give a particular shout out to the fifth annual #GiveAHoot, which will cover 1,839 minutes in recognition of our founding in 1839. With a myriad of challenge gifts across the spectrum, from clubs, athletics, student government, and alumni interest groups, we hope to get across an increasingly ambitious finish line. We have three goals: bringing more resources to our students and faculty, increasing participation throughout the Westfield State community, and re-affirming the culture of philanthropy on the campus. I hope we can count on your support.
Please enjoy this issue of Focus as we have traveled this country to shine a light on a number of intriguing stories about our alumni, faculty, and students. Find out about new initiatives right here in Westfield and active alumni from near and far. We have so much to be proud of as Owls!