With reunions well underway, and two weeks of intensive compaigning still to go, officials at the Harvard College Fund are confident they will meet their 1977-78 goal of 6.25 million.
Peter F. Clifton '49, executive director of the Fund, said yesterday that as of 10 a.m., alumni had pledged more than 5.6 million, about 200,000 more than Harvard grads had pledged at this time last year.
"We're really in terrific shape," he said.
Particularly encouraging to Clifton is the high participation rate in this year's drive--the highest since 1967-68. To date, more than 16,000 people have contributed to the drive and Clifton said he hopes to hit the 40-per-cent mark. In contrast, Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton, which usually boast greater participation rates than Harvard, suffered a decline this year, according to data Clifton received a few months ago.
Last year, the Fund surpassed its 5.7 million goal by 300,000. Clifton estimated that next year's goal will be approximately 6.5 million.
The Fund is an important source of revenue for the Faculty, and helps finance such programs as scholarships and House activities.
This is the second year in which Clifton's area class agent plan, a system that organizes alumni fundraisers both regionally and according to their College class, is in operation. The network is now about 80--per-cent complete, and Clifton said there is a noticeable difference between the degree of success that classes adopting the new method show and those that are not yet organized in that fashion.
Clifton said he wants to have the class agent plan 95-per-cent set up by next year. This will provide the University Development Office with a strong organizational base if Harvard launches a multi-million dollar capital drive, which many officials expect will be announced within the next year.
Dialing For Dollars
This year a massive telephoning campaign supplemented the system which ensures that alumni are solicited for gifts by members of their own class.
"We hadn't been too skillful in using the phones before," Clifton said, adding that "personal contact" is essential to a fund drive's success.
The Harvard College Fund relies to a large degree on Class reunion gifts, which spark a good deal of friendly class rivalry each June. Clifton predicted that both the Class of '28 and the Class of '53 will reach or surpass their goals of $1 million and $1.5 million respectively.
In addition, the Class of '23 set an alltime record for any Ivy League class celebrating a fifty-fifth anniversary. The previous record, also held by a Harvard class, was $277,000 and the Class might triple the old record before the year is out. "They're outrageous," he added.
Dr. Chase N. Peterson '52, vice president for alumni affairs and development, said yesterday the Fund's success this year is especially noteworthy considering that for most of this year the stock market "was just terrible."
They're damand lucky to even match what we did last year. They, did a great job," he said, adding that he was speaking more as a member of the Class of '52, which held the previous 25th reunion gift record, than as a Harvard official