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UB's Senior Challenge Close to Record Participation

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: May 3, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Senior Challenge at the University at Buffalo has achieved two of its highest totals of recent years, thanks to the UB Class of 2004.

To date, the Class of 2004 Senior Challenge has raised $11,795 in commitments from 471 seniors.

That's a significant increase compared to last year, when 314 members of the UB Class of 2003 gave $8,551. Only one senior class in the past seven years – the Class of 2000 – has had more donors (478) and a higher pledge total ($16,995). Pledges and gifts to this year's Senior Challenge will continue to be accepted through the summer.

Jessica Yacovoni, chair of the Senior Challenge Committee and a Class of 2005 finance major, said the number of students giving to this year's drive has been impressive.

"I'm excited by the response and by the dollar amount we've raised so far," Yacovoni said. "The Class of 2004 has proven already that it can meet significant challenges."

The Senior Challenge began in 1984 as a way for graduating students to give back to UB. The money raised often is used for a senior-class gift to UB. Past gifts have included the marble tile seal in the Student Union lobby on the North (Amherst) Campus, a clock on the face of Norton Hall, flags in the Student Union representing various nationalities of UB students and a welcome marker at the Rensch Road entrance. The senior classes of 1999 and 2000 designated their gifts go to the Random Acts of Kindness Fund, which is designed to help undergraduate students experiencing financial difficulties to stay in school.

This year's seniors began a new tradition by using part of the total funds raised to give a gift that keeps on growing -- a tree, which was planted near the Flint Loop on the North (Amherst) Campus during UB Pride Day on April 23. The current senior class intends its tree to be the first of a series of trees to be planted in the Flint Loop area by subsequent senior classes at UB.

Jennifer A. McDonough, UB vice president for university advancement, said she is impressed with the current senior class' giving and with its beginning a new tradition.

"This is how philanthropy starts, and I'm encouraged to discover that these students, soon to be alumni, understand this and have been willing to give back to UB at such an early time," McDonough said. "Their gifts will remain and grow in several ways on campus long after they have graduated."

The Class of 2004 will send the rest of the Senior Challenge donations to the school, program or area at UB designated by each donor.