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The years 1971 through 1975 were not happy times for officials of the Harvard College Fund. Each year, they set a $5 million fundraising goal, and each June they were several thousand short. But last year's record-breaking $5.45 million intake turned the tide, and this year promises to be even better.
Peter F. Clifton '49, the fund's executive director, said this week the Fund has raised more than $3.8 million so far this year, exceeding the 1976 winter total by roughly $580,000.
Although Clifton cautioned that the flow could decrease by June, when the annual drive ends, he said he was fairly certain the Fund would meet or surpass this year's goal of $5.7 million.
The number of alumni contributing to the Fund is also on the rise, although Harvard's participation level--32 per cent last year--still lags behind the 50 to 60 per cent of Dartmouth and Princeton alumni who respond to their alma mater's financial pleas.
The economy's apparent recovery from its traumas of the early '70s is an important factor in the Fund's recent success. But unprecedentedly beneficent reunion class donations are also giving the Fund a health boost.
The Class of 1927, celebrating its 50th reunion this June, has already contributed over $1 million in cash to the Fund this year, the first 50th reunion class to break the $1 million mark.
More than 70 per cent of the 500 members remaining in the class have contributed this year, Richard T. Flood '27, senior adviser to the Fund, said yesterday.
The new, more personalized fundraising techniques and the Fund's new publication series have also contributed to the Fund's prosperity, Clifton said.
Last year, the Fund implemented a new program, dividing the country into 14 regions with a representative from each class responsible for contacting his classmates. In former years, the nation was separated into over 400 districts, but the agent in each area was not necessarily acquainted with the other Harvard graduates in his area.
Clifton said Harvard officials, including President Bok and Dean Rosovsky, are travelling more on behalf of the Fund than they did in the past, and added that he would like to start taking students with him to meet with alumni in various parts of the country.
If alumni have a more personal sense of what the College is like today, they will be more willing to make donations, he added.
The money the Fund raises goes to student-oriented programs.
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