Senior Fund Sets Record For Pledges
The Harvard-Radcliffe Fund came close to its 80-per-cent participation goal for the Class of '80 with 74 per cent of all seniors pledging to give to the 1980 Senior Solicitation.
The 74 per cent participation substantially breaks previous marks. "This blows every record," Peter F. Clifton '49, director of the Harvard College Fund, said yesterday, attributing the increase in participation to better organization of the fund drive and the creation of restricted scholarship funds like the Biko fund.
The Class of '80 pledged more than $30,000 to the fund. Clifton said.
About 44 per cent of the class requested that its pledges go into restricted scholarship funds rather than the overall college fund, Anne K. Ames '76, co-director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Fund, said yesterday.
Of the 1071 seniors pledging, 476 students gave to restricted scholarship funds, amounting to about $11,000 in aid, Ames added.
The percentages of students giving to each separate scholarship fund have not yet been calculated, but more students gave to the Steven Biko Scholarship Memorial Fund this year than last, Michael Cominsky '80, co-chairman of the 1980 Senior Solicitation, said yesterday. The 1979 senior class committee created the fund last year to help finance scholarships for Black South Africans.
Senior solicitation fell off markedly in 1977, when many seniors boycotted the fund over the University's South African-related investments. "The Biko scholarship got a lot of those people back, Clifton said.
The participation percentage this year is also up significantly from last year's, when 58 per cent of the class pledged. Cominsky said student participation rose partly because "there wasn't any real problem on campus that would make seniors adverse to giving."
The solicitation directors and "co-captains" each House also spent more time choosing and training the "House agents" who solicit, Cominsky said.
Cominsky said they aimed for diversity in selecting the captains and agents in each House, to encourage students from different groups to offer money. "For example, we pick someone who's a jock, a fiminist or big in the arts," he added.
Each agent chooses the House seniors he wishes to solicit.
The special gifts committee, which solicits specially selected students for higher grants, collected 107 pledges, totalling about $8000.
The committee members chose students whom they believed "had the capability to give out more than $50 without a real problem," Cominsky said. They do not use any financial background records when selecting these seniors, Cominsky said, but choose them by word-of-mouth. "There's nothing from the front office. It's very inexact and subjective.
Eliot House had the highest participation rate this year, with 92 per cent of the House offering funds. Kirkland, Lowell and Winthrop came in second, third and fourth, respectively, with more than 80 per cent participation each, he added.
Dudley House, which includes off-campus students, has the lowest participation, at about 40 per cent. Currier House seniors participated the least of any resident House, with about 50 per cent pledging funds.
Cominsky said the solicitation drive always has difficulty obtaining pledges from off-campus seniors, because "they have not had the same type of Harvard experience. There's not so much to endear them to the place."
The largest single pledge totalled $3000, Ames said, adding that this pledge did not come out of the special-gift targeted group