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Seniors choose fan favorite as parting gift

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Committee chairs (l-r) Julie Smicinski, Amanda Marley, Katelyn Bailey & Anna Wills.

The 2015 Senior Class Gift at Mercyhurst University is sure to be a fan favorite.

After polling seniors, the decision to install a concession stand in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center was the winning project. The concession stand is the newest addition to the MAC, following the installation of a Hall of Fame Wall.

Since nearly a quarter of Mercyhurst students are athletes in Division I, II or club sports, adding a concession stand to the MAC was a popular class gift option, said Amanda Marley, a public health major and chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee.

“The concession stand is a great way to make the area more aesthetically pleasing and functional,” said Marley. “The committee is happy to make this project a reality.”

With close to 60 percent participation, this year’s graduating class has raised nearly $7,000 as it continues to work toward its $8,500 goal. To surpass the Class of 2014, the students will have to exceed 70 percent participation and $8,500.

“Our class gift chairs and committee members have been working hard to actively reach out and contact every senior individually, encouraging them to make a contribution,” said Marley. “The committee has spent the entire year informing its peers that this is an opportunity for the Class of 2015 to show their appreciation for the many opportunities they have had at Mercyhurst.”

The Senior Class Gift is an important Mercyhurst tradition, said Lindsay Cox, assistant director of alumni relations and co-advisor of the Senior Class Gift Committee. Tamara Walters, director of alumni relations and annual giving, also advises the group.

Funds for the Senior Class Gift are raised through several events held during the academic year, among them a Christmas gathering, Senior Week, a fundraising event at Frogurts in Erie and, most recently, a launch party where seniors were invited to check out the gift space, enjoy free food and share the impact of their donations.

“The Senior Class Gift is one of the first ways that students truly learn about philanthropy and giving back to the school. While the seniors did not have a concession stand during their time here, they saw a need for one and have come together to make it possible for current and future students,” said Cox.

The Senior Class Gift is not only a tangible addition to the campus for all to appreciate, it helps students understand the importance of giving back to their alma mater as alumni.

Marley shares responsibility of the Senior Class Gift Committee with three co-chairs: Katelyn Bailey, Julie Smicinski and Anna Wills.

The Class of 2015 will present a check with the total raised on Friday, May 15, one day before the class gets ready to walk across the graduation stage.