Next week we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. Many will head home for the holiday, while many of our international students will be welcomed into the homes of local residents as part of the 57th annual Betty Grimwood Thanksgiving Homestay Program.
During this holiday when we reflect on what we each have to give thanks for, I think it is appropriate to take a moment to thank the nearly 45,000 donors who made contributions to KU Endowment in support of the University of Kansas this past year. Their generosity led to the fourth year in a row of record private giving, and it is hard to overstate the importance of private philanthropy to the success of our students and university.
But it is often easy to get lost in the numbers and forget that every gift has a story, both for the giver and those who benefit from their gift. Let me give you a few examples.
Yesterday, the KU wind and jazz ensembles had the privilege of performing at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. This was made possible thanks to the generosity of KU alumnus James Zakoura, who has funded many other outreach programs for students and faculty in the School of Music.
Later this month, we are holding a grand opening for the Marilyn Stokstad Reading Room at the Spencer Research Library. Stokstad, a KU distinguished professor emerita of art history, made a generous contribution to create this inviting reading room. She had previously established an endowment to support art history collections at KU Libraries.
And a recent gift from the RDD Family Foundation of Kansas City provided funding for research at the KU Medical Center’s Institute for Neurological Disorders. The gift will support teams of investigators led by Peter Smith and Randolph Nudo, who will conduct research aimed at advancing recovery from spinal cord injuries.
These gifts and the many others, large and small, given to KU Endowment each year are a reflection of the generosity of our donors and the hopes they have for the university.
They’re also a symbol of their belief in you, and in the work you do every day to advance our mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.
Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for your dedication to our students and our university.