A community of giving: 10th annual Gettysburgives raises nearly $970,000 to support and enhance student learning

The annual Gettysburgives Festival.
Gettysburg students celebrated the impact of philanthropy during the annual Gettysburgives Festival.

Gettysburgians across the globe came together to celebrate and support their beloved alma mater during the 10th annual Gettysburgives Challenge on April 2-3. Showcasing their passion for supporting our students as they embark on A Consequential Education, 2,566 generous donors committed $968,539 in just 36 hours.

Since its launch in 2015, Gettysburgives has been supported by more than 11,000 donors who have raised more than $8 million to support our undergraduate students. These gifts provide financial support to all aspects of the student experience, including campus programming, scholarships, athletics, experiential learning opportunities, and student-faculty research. Among the most avid supporters of the Challenge are Barbara '65 and Barry '65 Shaw, who have inspired many to take part in this annual event.

Gettysburgives serves as a testament to the dedication of the Gettysburg College community toward enriching the student experience now and into the future through the institution’s distinctive approach to learning—The Gettysburg Approach. Gifts made during Gettysburgives expand current opportunities for students to learn and grow, while also creating new and unique experiences to cultivate their breadth and depth of knowledge and enduring skills both inside and outside of the classroom. These elements all come together to prepare our students for a lifetime of career advancement and personal success.

Vice President for College Advancement Tres Mullis expressed his gratitude, stating, "The overwhelming response to the 10th annual Gettysburgives Challenge is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our community. We offer a sincere thank you to our alumni, families and friends who participated in this year’s Challenge. This support strengthens our ability to provide A Consequential Education that prepares our students to lead lives of meaning and purpose."

Read below to learn more about the Gettysburgives Challenge and join us in celebrating the generosity of the Gettysburg community.

Students tie-dyed shirts at the Festival.
Students tie-dyed shirts at the Gettysburgives Festival.

Opening tipoff

While Gettysburgives staged its main 36-hour event in April, the impact of donors on the student experience began in earnest with the Bullets Teams Challenge last November. More than $516,000 was raised from more than 2,000 donors on Nov. 28-29, setting a pair of new records during the event. Seven intercollegiate varsity athletic programs received more than 100 individual gifts, while a total of 13 programs flew past their donor goals. Men’s lacrosse topped the list with more than $71,400 raised, while women’s golf featured the highest donor percentage and received an additional financial prize from the institution. Football received the prize for most improved after collecting 259 donations during the Bullets Teams Challenge. The funds raised will support budgetary needs for athletic programs, including purchasing new uniforms, upgrading equipment, enhancing facilities, and securing adequate travel options to and from competitions.

A celebration of philanthropy

Rain couldn’t dampen the spirit at the second annual Gettysburgives Festival in Plank Gym on April 2. The old basketball court was filled with students competing in lawn games, with a few even challenging President Bob Iuliano to a friendly competition on the basketball hoops. Other activities included tie-dying T-shirts and a photo booth to capture the festive mood with friends. Students also enjoyed cotton candy and popcorn made by College staff and braved the rain to grab a free lunch at one of the three food trucks set up outside—Ziggy Donutz, Taco Trap House, and Uncle Moe’s Soul Food.

Alumni and staff worked several tables where students could learn more about philanthropy, sign thank you banners, and write thank you postcards in English, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and a host of other languages to send to hundreds of generous donors.

Popcorn and cotton candy for festival guests
College staff made popcorn and cotton candy for festival guests.

Scholarship support

Making sure students have the financial means to attend Gettysburg and experience our unique approach to learning is an important part of Gettysburgives. This year, Barney and Kim Barnett ’90 and Susan ’68 and Bill Andrews ’67 committed an additional $65,000 after this year’s challenge inspired more than 300 donors to make a gift in support of scholarship aid.

Reunion competition

Reunion classes ending in 4 or 9 (e.g. 1984, 2009) went head to head during Gettysburgives to earn the privilege of having their flag fly above the Penn Hall Cupola during Reunion Weekend. Celebrating their upcoming 15th reunion, the Class of 2009 led the charge with 78 gifts to outduel the Class of 2004 with 74. With a grand total of 601 donors participating in this year’s Reunion Challenge—100 more reunionists than participated in last year’s Challenge—an additional $190,000 committed by several reunion alumni was unlocked and added to the fundraising total.

A BOLD goal

Inspired by the generous support of Rodd ’79 and Lorie Ruland P’15, BOLD (Burgians of the Last Decade) and young alumni rose to the challenge and exceeded their donor goal, making 209 gifts during the course of the 36 hours. A large portion of those gifts came during “BOLD Midnight Madness” from 5 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday, which unlocked an additional $50,000 commitment by the Rulands. With the Ruland’s inspirational donation leading the charge, BOLD alumni raised $11,597 to support experiential learning across campus.

Students at the festival
From student-faculty research to global study, the Gettysburgives Challenge provides support to student learning across the breadth of campus.

Additional Gettysburgives highlights

  • New this year was the use of online advocates to inspire their classmates and friends to take part in the Challenge. Utilizing their social media platforms, these influencers generated 146 gifts and $15,724 in giving. As a thank you for their philanthropic leadership, advocates received special prizes including Gettysburg socks, Gettysburg greeting cards, or a Gettysburg roll-up picnic blanket.
  • With a total of 90 parents and grandparent donors, the Class of 2027 eased past their sophomore foes to claim a special celebration with Ziggy Donutz! The Class of 2025 led the way in total amount raised with $21,290.
  • Every class from 1952 forward was represented in this year’s Gettysburgives Challenge, and we want to recognize our oldest alumni donor, Fred Hoenniger ’52!
  • This year’s Challenge was truly a global effort with gifts made from 11 countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and Singapore. Additionally, gifts were received from a total of 48 states! Oklahoma and South Dakota, we’re looking for you next year! Off campus, alumni also gathered for regional events in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Washington, D.C.
  • From dedicated staff making phone calls and counting gifts throughout the Challenge to members of the administration contributing their time and resources to make the Festival a success, Gettysburgives is a campus-wide effort that is months in the making. We want to express a sincere thank you to all the students, staff, faculty, and alumni volunteers who came together to make this event a tremendous success!
Students signing a thank you banner at the festival
Students sign a thank you banner at the Gettysburgives Festival.

Doing Great Work

Gettysburg College and the entire campus community would like to offer a special thanks to our Gettysburgives Challenge sponsors: Angie Estes ’64, Jesse Diner ’69, Bill Heyman ’74, Tom Koutris ’79, Lisa Cardone ’84, David Johnson ’89, Matt Nielsen ’94, Sue Bottone ’99, Dave Curtiss ’04, Hugh McStravick ’09, Dave Wemer ’14, Ivana Lopez Espinosa ’19, Don Nieman and Leigh Ann Wheeler P’25, Barney and Kim Barnett ’90, Susan ’68 and Bill Andrews ’67, and Rodd ’79 and Lorie Ruland P’15.

Gettysburg College extends its heartfelt appreciation to all the donors near and far who contributed to the success of the 10th annual Gettysburgives Challenge. Your gift, no matter the size, makes a difference for our students now and into the future. We are deeply grateful for the passion and dedication our community displays each and every year.

Did you miss the Gettysburgives Challenge? Make your gift to Gettysburg College today.

Gettysburgives 2024

By Corey Jewart
Photos by Diptiman Das ’27
Posted: 04/09/24

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