Donors rally behind Pacific Gives raising record $1.7M for students

Pacific Gives—the university’s 24-hour day of giving—set records by raising more than $1.7 million from nearly 2,900 donors this year, exceeding last year’s historic giving total by more than 40% with the number of donors up 81%.

Gifts poured in from alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff from California to as far away as Japan and Australia. The Board of Regents, cabinet members, deans and the Pacific Alumni Association board had 100% participation. 

“We are so grateful for everyone who supported Pacific Gives and made it the biggest day yet,” said Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, vice president for development and alumni relations. “It’s a sense of pride that our university came together in such a tremendous way to support our students. Every donation has a big impact.”

Pacific Gives allows donors to direct their money to areas they are most passionate about—from student scholarships to experiential learning opportunities to athletics.

More than 60 challenges and matches amplified the impact of gifts.

More than $47,000 was matched for the Regents Endowed Scholarship supporting first-generation students, PROMISE Scholars (former foster youth or housing insecure) and other students from low-income families thanks to a generous gift from former regent Rick Fleming ’69 and his wife Diana Fleming ’71.

A $10,000 match for faculty and staff donations offered by President Christopher Callahan and First Lady Jean Callahan, and Provost Maria Pallavicini, was reached within the first hour of the campaign. 

“The amazing numbers of alumni, faculty, staff, families, supporters, regents and university leaders who gave—and gave so generously during Pacific Gives—show how important Pacific is to so many people,” President Christopher Callahan said. “This is philanthropy that will have a very real, meaningful and immediate impact on our students and Pacific students in the future.”

Other challenges and matches included:

•    Champions of the Liberal Arts Challenge, a $100,000 gift from Professor Emeritus David Sparkman for College of the Pacific student scholarships;
•    Physician Assistant Scholarship Challenge, which received enough donors to get an extra $52,000 for the Mark and Sheila Christiansen Endowed Founding Director Scholarship;
•    Dental Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Challenge, which had enough donors to receive an extra $50,000 for the fund;
•    Smith COP Challenge Match, which raised an additional $50,000 from LaNor Smith ’86, president of the Pacific Alumni Board, and Scott Smith ’87 for history scholarships;
•    Chemistry Department Challenge, which unlocked $50,000 from Professor Emeritus Charles Matuzak for the Chemistry Department; 
•    Dugoni School Annual Fund Challenge, which unlocked $36,052 in bonus gifts from the Dugoni School Foundation Board; and
•    Fellers COP Challenge Match, which raised an extra $25,000 from Greg ’68 and Kathy ’68 Fellers for Biological Sciences scholarships.

Athletics drew tremendous support for the campaign with men’s soccer, volleyball and softball teams leading the effort. 

“We're competitive folks over here in athletics,” said men’s soccer Head Coach Adam Reeves. “Our program got excited about trying to win the bonuses (available through challenges). It was a great way to incentivize the entire campus community.” 

Reeves fueled much of the team’s successful fundraising campaign as the top ambassador for Pacific Gives, recruiting 88 donors.

Money raised for the program will go toward upgrading the locker room. “It’s a place the players spend time as a team, so we want to make the space more comfortable. It also helps to show recruits a really cool space where they can hang out,” Reeves said.

Volleyball Head Coach Greg Gibbons also was instrumental in Pacific Gives’ success as one of the campaign’s top ambassadors, bringing in 82 donors. Money raised for volleyball will cover expenses to the Northwestern Tournament, video analytics software and a projector and screen for real-time review during training.

The schools and colleges also demonstrated great support.

Pacific’s newest college, School of Health Sciences, had the most donations at 222. Founding Dean Nicoleta Bugnariu led the way by offering matches to the Dean’s Transformative Resilience Scholarship and as one of the top Pacific Gives ambassadors, recruiting 77 donors.

“I am deeply grateful to everyone who supported the School of Health Sciences during Pacific Gives,” she said. “My passion for this event is due to my own experience as a student. In my first year of Physical Therapy school, receiving a small scholarship gave me just enough to allow me to quit working night shifts and focus on studying. That scholarship made a huge difference for me, and it is why I am so supportive of Pacific Gives and our fantastic students.”

Other ambassadors who played an instrumental role in Pacific Gives include:

•    Alicia Biedermann ’05, who brought in 74 supporters;
•    Derek Clappis ’17, water polo assistant coach, who recruited 64 donors;
•    Karen Nakamura ’77, Eberhardt School of Business alumna, who encouraged 54 people to donate; and 
•    Georgette Hunefeld ’90, senior director of strategic philanthropic initiatives, who led 48 people to donate.

College of the Pacific brought in the most funds with more than $360,000 donated to support retention scholarships, speech and debate tournaments and Art, Media, Performance and Design students.

Gifts can continue to be made online year-round.