Philanthropy Day Highlights Student Giving, Alumni Donor Matches

Events are being held across campus today, to encourage students to give to the University. Their donations will be matched by two alumni.

Rebecca D'Angelo '14 (CLAS)

Rebecca D'Angelo '14 (CLAS)

Husky drive logo

In the fall of 2010, alumnus David Barton ’61 presented a challenge to all UConn students: give at least $5 to support an area of your choice at the University, and he would match each gift dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $25,000, for a total gift of $50,000. A newly-formed Student Philanthropy Association, headed by the Office of Annual Giving at the UConn Foundation, took this challenge, ran with it, and kept going even after they crossed the finish line.

The group, comprising 75 students, was an active presence at campus events and hosted their own activities, such as Philanthropy Day in the fall semester and Tuition Runs Out Day in the spring. They collaborated with the UConn Alumni Association, speaking to new students at the Freshman Experience program about the importance of student and alumni giving and involvement.

The hard work paid off; more than 500 UConn students made substantial gifts, surpassing the goal by raising $34,620 for various programs and organizations at the University. Students from every class contributed, supporting everything from the Fund for UConn to specific areas like the Women’s Center and many others.

Today, the Student Philanthropy Association marks its second Philanthropy Day, and the group is hitting a new stride with additional members and a second $25,000 challenge from Barton, announced at the start of the academic year.

Barton is joined this year by UConn Trustee Denis Nayden ’76, ’77, who is pledging $25,000 of his own, based around an additional challenge to the UConn students: raise another $25,000 and also double participation to 1,000 student donors in the 2011-2012 school year.

More than anyone, [students] understand the critical role that philanthropy plays in their own education.

Nayden says that the generosity of UConn’s students drove him to contribute.

“I was really excited to hear about last year’s efforts. Seeing UConn students embracing the concepts of giving back and community involvement in tangible ways is so gratifying,” he says. “Our students demonstrated last year that they were more than up for a challenge, and their generosity was both humbling and remarkable to witness. More than anyone, they understand the critical role that philanthropy plays in their own education. I want to help encourage even more students to contribute this year, and am proud to be able to offer a second challenge to go along with David [Barton]’s. I am confident that this year’s challenge will be even more successful. Go Huskies!”

Rebecca D'Angelo '14 (CLAS). (Dan Buttrey/UConn Photo)
Rebecca D’Angelo ’14 (CLAS). (Dan Buttrey/UConn Photo)

One of the donors taking advantage of Barton’s match last year was Rebecca D’Angelo ’14, who gave to support the Museum of Natural History and also volunteered to serve on the SPA. A sophomore in the Honors Program, D’Angelo is active on campus in student government, UConn’s folk music society, and, supported by private donors to UConn, has conducted summer research on 19th-century whaling and sealing out of New London. A longtime volunteer at Mystic Seaport, she is a member of the seaport’s Special Demonstration Squad, which displays period equipment, vessels, and maritime skills to visitors.

A scholarship recipient herself, D’Angelo said she was motivated to get involved because of the way the University welcomed her.

“I applied to eight different colleges during my senior year of high school, and was accepted to six of them. At the end of the admissions process, I was choosing between attending the University of Pennsylvania and attending UConn Honors on the Nutmeg Scholarship – the scholarship made the difference for me. Nutmeg made unbeatable the already excellent value offered by a UConn education,” she says. “I knew it would allow me to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities here without being financially boxed-in. And it made me feel great – it was like UConn recognized all of the hard work I had put in during high school and was saying, ‘Hey, we really want you.’ There’s a difference between being accepted and welcomed, and UConn welcomed me.”

Philanthropy Day events are being held across campus today. For a listing of dates and times, please visit:

UConn students can make an online gift to support UConn at