This year’s senior class gift will be an annual $10,000 scholarship awarded to an incoming student. Decided over the summer by the Senior Class Council, the gift has already been the subject of much debate.

“For these past decades, Rochester has been one of these universities that have managed [mostly] to fill the gap with institutional aid, but the struggle increases,” Dean of Admissions Jonathan Burdick said. “Thus, the gift is genuinely welcomed by the admissions office and will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to the university.”

The Rochester fund will compliment every $5,000 the senior class raises with $15,000. Recently, Burdick announced that he would pledge $5,000 of his resources if the class raises $5,000. The Rochester fund will then match the seniors $10,000 with $30,000.

The class gift is a longstanding tradition here at UR and it is a joint effort between the Senior Class Council and the Rochester Fund. This year, however, the gift was decided on prior to the academic year by the class council without polling the class in order to execute planning and development. Some seniors are unfavorable and feel that the Class of 2005 should have been able to participate in a vote regarding the gift.

“I dont think they should have decided without asking for input from the class, and I would rather give something to the school as a whole, not just to 1 or 2 people,” Senior Rebecca Cortesi said.

Many students, however, are enthusiastic about the scholarship. This was evident by the decent turnout of seniors at the happy hour last Friday arranged to raise money for the scholarship. Sponsored by the Senior Class Council, refreshments were served and many seniors came out to donate.

“We also had some help from Dean Green, who gave us $500 towards our $5,000, and posed the challenge that if we get more than 31% class participation, he will give us more money, and if we surpass a higher percentage of participation, he will donate more–and that’s money from his pocket, not his Dean funds,” Senior Class Council member Rebecca Wolfson said. Thus, the theme of the happy hour was “Get Green’s Green.”

It was at the happy hour that the design for the senior class t-shirt was revealed. “If you donate $20.05, you can get a t-shirt,” Senior Class Council member Ilana Kaplan-Shain said.

Also on hand at the happy hour were members of the Office of College Advancement who were willing to answer any questions about the gift that students might have had.

“We’re getting there. We’ve had several gifts today, and we’re going to do more events like this where people can come out and give, and there’s a Web site so people can go online. I mean, it lasts all the way up to graduation, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities,” Assistant Director of the Parent Fund Mary Beth Neiser said.

Seniors can go to the website, and click on the link to “Senior Gift!” find out more information about the scholarship and the criteria being debated in order to decide who receives it.

Additional reporting by Cyrus.

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