Record-Breaking Class Gifts Boost Harvard College Fund

The Harvard College Fund will probably exceed its $5.7 million goal and is currently ahead of last year's winter total, Fund officials said yesterday.

By the end of last month, the Fund raised over $3.8 million and is roughly $580,000 ahead of last year's February total. Peter F. Clifton '49, executive director of the Fund, said yesterday.

The number of alumni participating in the yearly drive, which ends in June, is also increasing. The 9600 donors who have contributed thus far represent a 13-percent increase over the February 1976 figure.

The Class of 1927, which has slightly more than 500 members remaining, has already contributed over $1 million in cash, the largest gift a 50th reunion class has ever donated, Clifton said.

All the money the Fund raises is used to finance undergraduate-oriented programs. Roughly half the Fund's earnings is spent on financial aid while the remaining money helps pay for the House tutorial system and undergraduate activities including athletics and Loeb drama programs.


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The Fund, which is a "make-it-or-break-it" factor in the Faculty's attempt to balance the budget, prevented next year's tuition, room and board hike from being even steeper than the proposed $475 increase, Robert E. Kaufmann '62, assistant dean for financial affairs, said earlier this month.

The Fund raised $5.45 million last year, establishing a new record and surpassing its 1976 goal of $5.25 million. Between 1972 and 1975, the Fund worked towards a $5 million goal but failed to get off a $4.8 million plateau.

A healthier national economy and changes in fundraising techniques both contributed to the Fund's subsequent growth, Clifton said.

Tax deadlines make December a crucial month for donations and substantial contributions this December may indicate that donors "have some confidence in what is going to happen to the economy" during the Carter administration, he said.

"People will give when they are asked," Clifton said, but impersonal fundraising letters do not constitute a request. The Fund has revamped its publications and instituted more personalized methods of contacting alumni which Clifton said are proving very effective.

The new publications are designed to keep alumni in touch with Harvard, he said. One bi-monthly pamphlet profiles a different "Harvard personality" in each edition, ranging from M. Robert Coles '50, research psychiatrist at the University Health Service, to William Emper '77, captain of the football team.

The new area class agent plan, implemented last year, divided the country into 14 regions with a representative from each class responsible for contacting his own classmates.

In past years, the country was divided into numerous smaller regions but the regional chairmen were not always personally acquainted with the alumni in their district.

"In any area of fundraising, personal contact makes a great deal of difference. When the contact is made by someone you went to school with it's even more effective," Daniel A. Phillips '60, head class agent for his class, said last night.