Starting Feb. 23, all Hamilton students are recipients of a $10,000 “scholarship.” Is this implausible? Feb. 23, declared Starting Today Others Pay or S.T.O.P. Day, marks the turning point on the academic calendar when tuition stops covering expenses and the philanthropy of others takes over.
Many, if not most, students are unaware that income from tuition, room and board provides only 65 percent of the cost of a Hamilton education. S.T.O.P. Day is being celebrated to bring attention to this fact. The difference — a full 35 percent — is made up with donations from alumni, parents and friends, both contributions made this year and income from the endowment.
Last year the “Power of Many” was the name of the day’s celebration, an effective moniker with which to recognize the contributions of alumni, parents and friends, gifts over the last two centuries that have guaranteed Hamilton’s growth and success. The day’s new name emphasizes that all students are financially supported by the largesse of others whose contributions fill the gap between tuition and the actual cost per student of operating the college.
“The 'Hamilton model' of education involves many people interacting directly with students. This highly personal approach to undergraduate learning is an expensive one. Fortunately, from its earliest days, the College has been blessed with generous donors committed to advancing the ideals of a liberal arts education,” said Jon Hysell ’72, P’04, executive director of alumni relations and annual giving. “Throughout the years all students — whether or not they received financial aid — have had a substantial portion of their college costs covered by those who came before them.”
HALT (Hamilton Alumni Leadership Training) Group and the Senior Gift Committee have created a day of activities marking this financial transition:
Vice President for Administration and Finance Karen Leach will discuss the elements that make up the College’s budget at noon in the Bradford Auditorium in the Kirner-Johnson (KJ) Building. Professor Stephen Wu, who teaches the Economics of Higher Education, will also be present to answer questions.
From noon to 4 p.m., HALT students will be staffing a taped-off area of the KJ atrium (1/3 of the atrium to represent visually the percentage covered in the budget by contributions and endowment income). Within the taped area, any students who wish to express their appreciation may write brief thank yous to donors on pre-addressed postcards. They will be offered a one-third moon (as opposed to a half-moon) cookie as well.
- At 4 p.m., John Werner ’92, an alumnus who is one of the founding leaders and managing director of Citizen Schools, will present a brief talk about the impact of philanthropy on organizations like his and Hamilton. A reception will be held to conclude the day.
“As a student, I was not truly aware of the momentous impact the Annual Fund and each donor has had on my education. Without the generosity of the alumni, parents and friends, Hamilton College would not be the same place we have all grown to know and love,” said HALT member Antonia Villa ’12. “S.T.O.P. Day is not about balancing the budget and computing the dollars needed to keep the college running. It is about stopping to appreciate the actions of those connected to the College and learning how you can become one of those individuals who makes the education of the students at Hamilton possible.”
Most alumni and parents support the college through the Annual Fund. More than 3,375 alumni and parents have already contributed to the college in the first half of the year, including a record 2,885 who participated in a trustee-funded challenge that matched Annual Fund gifts made to Hamilton between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31.
More than half of Hamilton’s alumni contribute to the college each year, placing Hamilton among the top 1 percent of all colleges nationally for alumni support.
“The support of Hamilton’s alumni, parents and friends for our students and faculty is a testament to their belief in this college and its direction,” Vice President of Communications and Development Richard Tantillo said. “There may not be a more loyal and passionate alumni body in the country. We are grateful to support they provide and the opportunities their contributions make possible.”