Gettysburgians celebrate Founder’s Day with successful Gettysburgives

Gettysburgives Festival
Students, alumni, staff, and faculty came together for the Gettysburgives Festival held on Stine Lake on April 5.

As Gettysburg College recognizes Founder’s Day on April 7, celebrating its 191st birthday, the campus community celebrates the tremendous support and generosity of 2,729 donors during the ninth annual Gettysburgives Challenge, which raised $1,005,000 to directly support the student experience now and in the future.

Gettysburgians from around the globe made gifts during 36 hours from 9 a.m. on April 5 through 9 p.m. on April 6 to support Gettysburgives. This year's results surpass last year’s effort and demonstrate the undeniable generosity and passion of the Gettysburg community.

“Over the past 36 hours, the Gettysburg community has rallied like never before to make the ninth annual Gettysburgives Challenge an incredible success,” said Tres Mullis, vice president for College Advancement. “As the College marks 191 years since its founding in 1832, we offer a huge thank you to the thousands of Gettysburgians whose generosity sustains this very special place and help to make a distinctive Gettysburg education possible for our students.”

Since its first year in 2015, Gettysburgives has been supported by nearly 10,500 donors who have raised more than $7 million to support Gettysburg College students. These gifts provide financial support to a host of initiatives, including campus programming, scholarships, athletics, experiential learning opportunities, and student-faculty research, all of which pave the way for students to gain knowledge and skills to lead lives of consequence.

A thank you banner
More than 200 students signed a thank you banner in a variety of lanaguages including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and German for donors.

Opening pitch

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. A record total of more than $313,000 was raised from a record 1,655 donors over 36 hours from Nov. 29-30. Six intercollegiate varsity athletic programs received more than 100 individual gifts, while a total of 13 programs each raised more than $13,000. Football topped the list with $40,761.90 raised, while volleyball and softball gained additional financial prizes for achieving the highest rates of donor participation at 385% and 305%, respectively.

That momentum carried through to Gettysburgives with several teams, led by women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and women’s basketball, receiving gifts from ardent fans.

Members of the women's basketball team at the festival
Members of the women’s basketball team hold a thank you sign at the Gettysburgives Festival on Stine Lake.

Celebration on the lake

Under sunny skies and with temperatures sliding past 80 degrees for the first time this spring, students, alumni, staff, and faculty came out in droves for the Gettysburgives Festival on Stine Lake. The grassy section of campus just outside Musselman Library was filled with a sea of students competing in lawn games, such as cornhole and tic-tac-toe, and waiting in line for one of the three food trucks set up for the event—Ziggy’s Donutz, Banjo’s BBQ, and Uncle Moe’s Soul Food. Students also enjoyed popcorn and cotton candy and had an opportunity to grab their own Gettysburgives swag at a T-shirt tie-dying station, including frisbees and sunglasses.

Alumni and staff worked several tables where students could sign thank you banners and cards to send to hundreds of generous donors, with those handwritten notes featuring a variety of languages ranging from English to Spanish to Vietnamese. President Bob Iuliano also helped Danny Ziegler ’21, owner of Ziggy’s Donutz, make a few delicious baked goods for the masses. In the spirit of Gettysburgives, Ziegler generously donated the more than 1,200 donuts served up during the Festival.

President Luliano at the festival
President luliano joined Danny Ziegler ’21 to make a few donuts for students and staff.

A BOLD goal

BOLD (Burgians of the Last Decade) and young alumni rose to the challenge of exceeding their donor goal and opened the door for additional funds to support students. A total of 258 gifts were made by the group, surpassing the goal of 250 and unlocking an additional $18,320 pledged by sponsors Barry and Barbara Shaw ’65.

Reunion competition

This year’s Gettysburgives Challenge pitted classes ending in 3 or 8 (e.g. 1983, 2008) in a head-to-head battle. A total of 477 donors honored their graduation milestones by participating in this year’s Reunion Challenge, with the Class of 1973 coming out on top with 63 gifts totaling over $107,000. To commemorate their impressive showing, the Class of 1973 will have their class flag proudly flown atop the Cupola during their 50th reunion in June.

Students and staff at the festival
Stine Lake was filled with hundreds of students and staff celebrating Gettysburgives and thanking donors on April 5.

Additional Gettysburgives highlights

  • Gettysburg parents past and present showed their support with 719 making a gift during the Challenge. The parents of the Class of 2023 finished in the lead!
  • No surprise here that mathematics played the numbers game and came out with a win! Other top academic programs in the Challenge included elementary education and history.
  • Gettysburgives continued its dedication to supporting students’ academic pursuits with 206 donors contributing to support for scholarships.
  • This year’s Challenge was truly a global effort with gifts made from seven countries around the world, including Australia and Singapore. Additionally, gifts were received from a total of 49 states! Off campus, alumni also gathered for regional events in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
  • Gettysburgives featured many moving parts, all made possible by dedicated staff working behind the scenes. This year’s on-campus festival brought together departments and offices around campus and featured student and alumni volunteers. Dozens of additional staff remained at computer desks and phones tracking gifts throughout the 36 hours. Without their help and effort, none of this success would have been possible. Thank you!
Executive Director of Joe Lynch’s ’85 dog Milol
Executive Director of Alumni Relations Joe Lynch’s ’85 dog Milo provides a quick thank you to donors while lounging in the shade.

Doing Great Work

Gettysburg College and the entire campus community would like to offer a special thanks to our Gettysburgives Challenge sponsors: Briant Bennett ’63, Jen ’95 and Kyle ’96 Betty, Tom Johnson ’76, Barbara and David ’73 Keiser, Craig Sabatino ’78, Lori Kono Clapp ’73, Jean LeGros ’73, Mark and Sandy (Berlin) Walker ’78, Susan (Eicholtz) ’83 and Bill ’83 Pyron, Dr. Rob Pomponio ’88, Mark Cunningham ’93, Wendy Rodenberger Kuppenheimer ’93, Ms. Stacy (Poorman) Maus and Mr. Christopher Maus ’98, Crystal Hinnant Ferguson ’03, Rebekah and Nicholas Roper ’08, Kavya Kumar ’13, James Welch ’18, Lisa and Dan Lyons P’23, P’26, Gayle and Brad Johnson P’24, Bonnie and Peter Motel P’23, Leigh Ann Wheeler and Don Nieman P’25, Kathy Tarr ’82 and Ralph Coscia, Rhonda Graber ’83, Deb and Jonny Feldman PP’22, and Barbara (Wenger) ’65 and Barry Shaw ’65.

To the thousands of Challenge donors—thank you! Your gift, no matter the size, makes a difference on current and future generations of Gettysburgians. Your generosity will open the door for a wide range of immersive learning experiences that will prepare students to live lives of meaning and impact. We are deeply grateful to every Gettysburgian who helped make our biggest fundraising event of the year such a tremendous success, and for your continued support each fund year.

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

Gettysburgives 2023

By Corey Jewart
Photos by McKenna White '25 and Kailey White '21
Posted: 04/07/23

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