25th Reunion Cochairs Impact Future by Volunteering

DePauw volunteers are essential to successful reunions each year. Hundreds of volunteers work with the Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving offices to plan their reunions and secure donations for their class gifts to The Fund for DePauw.

Two of those volunteers, Dennis A. Trinkle and I. Jay Bennett, are cochairs of the Class of 1991 reunion committee. Preparations for their 25th class reunion in June are bringing back memories and reinforcing how important DePauw has been to them.

“An anniversary provides a focus for us to do something special, to come together and work as a class to make this great DePauw experience possible for more students,” Dennis said. “We want to be the reason that 25 years from now, a new generation can look back and say, ‘DePauw changed my life!’”

This sense of looking ahead by remembering the past is a common philosophy of reunion-year volunteers, who willingly give of themselves for the benefit of the University and alumni. The natural time of reflection inspires them to greater goals. “DePauw was fundamental in shaping me as a person by providing opportunities for leadership and interpersonal engagement that challenged me to think broadly and critically,” Jay said. “I feel honored to have benefited from the interest that others showed in my development, and I feel obligated to share my experiences and gifts to continue a cycle of service.”

The class of 1991 is working toward a goal of 40 percent giving participation. Alumni participation is tracked by foundations for grant applications and rankings, such as the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Both men want to get the message of participation across to alumni.

“Giving at a participation level that is less than our best means that we don’t fully appreciate the importance of what it means to give and the impact that participation levels have on attracting additional funding and attracting the talent that fuels greater success,” Jay said. “It’s not about the amount – start at a level that is comfortable and consistent and build from there as you see fit.”

Dennis echoes those sentiments and believes all gifts contribute to a much larger picture. “Every gift today has this exponential power to impact the lives of DePauw students. There are still too many students who cannot attend DePauw because they cannot afford the cost. They need the experience and would be transformed by it, but it is outside of their grasp. Our gifts individually and collectively close the gap and make a DePauw experience possible.”

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