Trinity Support Rises to Meet Crises
Alumni step up to support students, creating 10-year high giving participation rate
Friday, June 12, 2020
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Each year, Trinity’s community of support bands together to preserve access to the Trinity experience for current and future Tigers. But in 2020, the University community rose to an even higher goal: in the face of unprecedented challenges, Trinity supporters came together as One Trinity to help hundreds of students get home safely and continue their education in the midst of COVID-19.

As COVID-19 took hold of the world and turned lives upside down, donors stepped up their giving to both the Trinity Fund, which provides scholarships to students, and the Raymond Judd Emergency Fund, which helps Trinity students who need unexpected financial assistance.

Trinity not only reached a goal of 275 new alumni donors in May, but also secured a $55,000 match participation and closed out the academic year with a 10-year high alumni participation rate of 16.6 percent.

This wave of support came at a crucial time, according to Trinity President Danny Anderson.

“I can personally relate to you stories of students who struggled to get home,” Anderson says. “One student dealt with a parent’s medical condition and a car wreck as she returned home. Others are dealing with food and housing insecurity. Some of our students come to Trinity on the margins economically, and they return to an environment where they are facing challenges with family income, food insecurity, and technology and internet connectivity.”

Raymond Judd Emergency Fund

The Raymond Judd Student Emergency Fund, named in honor of Chaplain Emeritus Rev. Raymond Judd ’56, supports students with out-of-the-ordinary and life-altering changes, such as illness and access points for those with financial needs.

This spring, the Emergency Fund helped hundreds of students with expenses related to moving back home, transitioning to remote learning, and other unforeseen obstacles. Chaplain Alex Serna Wallender ’08, M’09 says the fund has already met the needs of 275 requests for aid, totaling more than $110,000.

“As we navigated through COVID-19 and all of the unexpected stressors that it added to the student experience, it was humbling to see the ways that the Trinity family of alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends came together to help provide meaningful support to our students through the emergency fund,” Serna-Wallender says. “I am hopeful that these expressions of care will continue to resonate throughout the Trinity community in the season ahead.”

A vital pillar of the emergency fund came from matching gifts, such as those made by Trustee and parent Ted Beneski, who committed $25,000 to match gifts to this cause, as well as alumni Chris Scoggins ’95 and Jay Thomson ‘93 and Shannon McTiernan Thomson ’96, who committed $20,000 towards matching gifts from faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends. 

“I care deeply about access to a Trinity education for first-generation students and students of modest means,” Scoggins says. “When I learned that many of these students would not have adequate technology to participate in their remote-learning classes once they were sent home, I was strongly motivated to support the Judd Emergency Fund by offering a matching challenge as a way to encourage others to join me in helping them. I was delighted to see how quickly others responded!”

Thomson echoed this sentiment.

“The latest crisis of Covid-19 has not affected individuals or families equally. First generation students navigating the challenges of college and being away from home have encountered significant obstacles to finishing their school year suddenly and without precedent. Both Jay and I have strong attachments to Trinity and the community that made our years there so memorable and it was one way we felt we could give back.”

Greek Alumni Foundations and Greek individuals also played a vital role, pledging $10,000 to the fund. 

Trinity Fund

Our ongoing annual goals focus around our Trinity Fund, which is used for the highest need of campus, which is 100% scholarships support for the hard working students who have earned a coveted spot in their class. We project that there will be more and deeper demand for scholarship support this coming fall than ever before. We will meet that need by asking our Trinity community  to help bring students back to campus over the course of the next school year by supporting The Trinity Fund, which serves all students and makes scholarships available immediately for the students who need them the most. 

Scholarships support the value of a Trinity degree and are Trinity’s area of greatest need. The Trinity Fund serves all students, and unlike endowments or restricted gifts, scholarships are available immediately for the students who need them the most. These funds will be critical to get students back to campus in Fall 2020. 

Editor's Note:

Trinity prepares students to be inspired, equipped, and educated leaders in the world. Every gift made this year is building momentum for our community, ensuring that the best and the brightest students have access to the transformative education that Trinity offers. 

Jeremiah Gerlach is the brand journalist for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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