The ninth annual Gettysburgives Challenge is set to take place from April 5-6 and will once again seek to have a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of current and future students at Gettysburg College.
One of the College’s biggest annual fundraisers, the 36-hour event began in 2015 and has raised more than $6 million from 10,000-plus donors to support all areas of the College, including the Gettysburg Fund which supports initiatives across campus like programming, scholarships, athletics, experiential learning opportunities, and student-faculty research.
This year’s Challenge has a new date and a new on-campus element. Previously held in late February, Gettysburgives 2023 takes place in early April to coincide with Founder’s Day on April 7, on which Gettysburg will celebrate its 191st birthday. The two days prior, the Challenge will highlight the spirit and determination of Gettysburgians everywhere to support the student experience now and in the future.
On April 5, members of the Gettysburg community will come together on Stine Lake for a campus event from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., featuring live music, food trucks, carnival snacks, lawn games, T-shirt tie-dyeing, and giveaways. Tables will also be set up with a Gettysburgives “thank you” banner and thank you cards for attendees to sign and send off to the thousands of anticipated donors.
This year, Gettysburgives aims to inspire 3,000 alumni, parents, and friends to make a gift to the College. Included in that total are mini challenges for young alumni, reunion classes, current and past parents, and scholarship donors. As goals are reached, additional gifts provided by several generous sponsors will be unlocked.
Since Gettysburgives’ inception eight years ago, our strong alumni network has supported our community. Hear from six alumni about why they participate in the Challenge below:
Kelly Alsedek ’71
Thanks to her father Donald Alsedek ’47, Kelly Alsedek developed an early and lifelong bond with Gettysburg. She visited campus often growing up and it was the only college she applied to. While at Gettysburg, she honed her critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills, all of which helped her adapt and maneuver through four decades of work in higher education. A biology major, Alsedek rounded out her academic and co-curricular interests by minoring in art, performing in dance, and joining the Delta Gamma sorority.
Alsedek retired in 2013 after spending 15 years as the associate director of marketing and communications at Lebanon Valley College. Not long after, she returned to Gettysburg’s vibrant community to live and continued supporting her alma mater through fundraising activities like Gettysburgives and volunteering on reunion committees and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. When Alsedek looks back, she sees the same opportunities that paved the way for her own success as well as new opportunities to help current and future students.
“I am excited about the numerous opportunities the College provides to today’s students to study abroad and I am also impressed by the many interdisciplinary and experiential programs that enable students to test and hone their skills in real-world situations and endeavors,” Alsedek said. “The Challenge is just another simple way I show my support, and in doing so, can perhaps inspire other alums to do the same.”
Jay Levin ’71
Gettysburg College provided the foundation for Jay Levin to practice law for over four decades in Georgia. A political science major, Levin honed his analytical skills in classes ranging from English and religion to biology and philosophy. He also developed leadership and social skills by serving as president of Sigma Nu fraternity and joining Student Senate. After graduation, Levin earned his law degree from Duke University and went on to a long and distinguished career as a partner in large law firms before retiring in 2018.
Levin has supported Gettysburgives every year and is an active and engaged Gettysburgian, serving on reunion committees and the Alumni Association Board of Directors and taking part in networking opportunities through connectGettysburg and the Young Alumni Leadership program. He recently returned to campus for his 50th reunion last summer.
“The multi-discipline coursework undertaken by many of today’s students is impressive,” Levin said. “I have taken many alumni college courses at various Reunion Weekends, and the caliber of the College faculty that I have encountered has been uniformly outstanding. While I have participated in other areas of the College’s fundraising, I especially like to support the Gettysburgives Challenge because this program typically has a multiplier dimension and also has broad appeal for alumni of virtually all economic levels.”
Ellice Fullam Moore ’09
As a fundraiser in higher education and part-owner of a business, Ellice Moore has developed effective communication skills to engage with a wide range of audiences each day. While Moore graduated from Gettysburg with a degree in history, she enjoyed a variety of opportunities on campus, including participating in the Women’s Choir, serving on the crew for theater productions, and helping fellow students as a teaching assistant in both physics and astronomy.
Over the last 10 years, Moore has worked in University Advancement at Bucknell University, most recently serving as senior specialist for their annual fund outreach. She also co-founded Moore’s Custom Building alongside her husband, Brandon, in 2016, and is a member of connectGettysburg.
“Gettysburg offered a safe place to enhance critical thinking and effective communication with students who had different backgrounds than my own,” Moore said. “The Gettysburg ‘think tank’ created collaboration and truly has helped me to excel in my work today.”
Taylor Plank ’12
When Taylor Plank returned to campus for her 10th reunion last fall, she heard about many of the same hands-on learning experiences that she enjoyed as an undergraduate student at Gettysburg. That immersive education enabled Plank to think critically about solutions throughout her four years as a chemistry and Spanish double major, and laid the foundation for a career in higher education.
At Gettysburg, Plank was a member of the Campus Activities Board, Student Alumni Association, Student Activities Council, Residence Life staff, and Student Senate. She also studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during her junior year. Those opportunities combined with curricular experiences in the classroom and research in the lab opened the door for her to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Maryland and become an educator herself. A past member of her class reunion committee, Plank currently serves as the Class of 2012 correspondent for news and updates in the GETTYSBURG College Magazine.
“From interesting classes, various clubs, and my semester studying abroad, Gettysburg checked all the boxes of what I wanted from my time at college,” Plank said. “My undergrad research in the chemistry department was immensely important in preparing me for graduate school and beyond. I want to give back for all of these experiences that Gettysburg gave to me, and supporting the college during the Gettysburgives Challenge allows my gift to go even further.”
Brian Pumphrey ’98
As he prepares for his 25th class reunion, Brian Pumphrey can look back on his time at Gettysburg College and appreciate the commitment the institution made to his professional and personal development, and the continued commitment Gettysburg makes to current and future students through efforts like Gettysburgives. Pumphrey wants to ensure future generations of Gettysburgians have access to many of the same opportunities he had as an undergraduate, including clubs and organizations like the Justice and Pre-Law Society and College Choir.
A history and political science double major, Pumphrey learned how to effectively write, speak, and work on a team at Gettysburg, essential skills that have served him well in more than two decades of practicing law. His active engagement as a student carried over to his time as an alumnus by participating in reunion committees for his class and the choir and serving on the Alumni Board of Directors. A partner at the Virginia-based firm of McGuireWoods LLP, Pumphrey was preceded by his father, John Pumphrey ’69, in attending Gettysburg.
“With each passing year, the quality, breadth, and depth of a Gettysburg education continues to improve,” noted Pumphrey. “Today’s students have more curricular options and exposure to a growing diversity of activities. There is a strong focus on scholarship, community involvement, and entrepreneurship that will bring both personal and professional success to the next generation of our alumni.”
Jamie Welch ’18
Jamie Welch began contributing to Gettysburgives as a student because he saw the value and impact of even small gifts to the challenge. That range of giving was similar to the support he received as an undergraduate to create both need-based and merit-based scholarships that allowed him to pursue a host of opportunities in and out of the classroom. A computer science major and business minor, Welch served on the Campus Activities Board, ran a nightclub on campus, worked as a community advisor, tutored students as a Peer Learning Associate, served as news director of the campus radio station, and ended his college career as editor-in-chief of The Gettysburgian.
Today, Welch is an assistant state’s attorney with the state’s attorney’s office in Wicomico County, Maryland. Because of the critical and analytical thinking skills he developed in classes such as his First-Year Seminar and computer science courses, he is able to work through complex legal cases with a team of prosecutors and support staff to foster a safer community. Welch continues to support his alma mater through giving and participating in volunteer activities, including serving as reunion chair for the Class of 2018.
“Whether I read about students engaged in impactful research, working at internships at top institutions across the country, or giving back to their community through the Center for Public Service, it makes me feel proud to know that the institution that gave so much to me continues to give to others as well,” said Welch. “Not only does it make me feel proud—it makes me want to give back, and that’s exactly what I’ve done every single year since I graduated in 2018.”
Support our student experience by making a gift to the Gettysburgives Challenge on April 5-6!
By Corey Jewart
Photos by Shawna Sherrell and courtesy of featured alumni