Student Giving: An IUP Tradition

Posted on 11/5/21 9:05 AM
stylized image of rock gift from 1888 on the left and grant street park on the right

Our students have a rich history of giving to this institution that has continued since the days of Indiana State Normal School.

Early graduating classes started the tradition of making class gifts to the school. Stained-glass windows for the original Leonard Hall from the Classes of 1893, 1895, and 1896; an entrance on the east side of campus from the Class of 1902; and a sundial from the Class of 1903 are examples the Normal Herald, the alumni news bulletin, mentioned in its October 1917 edition.

2021–22 Student Giving Challenge

This year’s challenge kicks off on Giving Tuesday, November 30. Stephen Abel ’73 has designated $10,000 in matching funds, adding $10 per gift to the first 1,000 student gifts of $5 or more. The giving focus is “Pick Your Passion,” meaning students choose the area they wish to support.

Cover of the “Normal Herald” bulletin from February 1905 with a photograph of a stained-glass window at the center

In 1903, Indiana Normal School’s alumni news bulletin featured the stained-glass window from the original Leonard Hall that was a gift from the Class of 1893.

An old photograph of two brick markers on either side of a walkway that leads into the campus

The Class of 1902 donated this entrance on the east side of campus.

Light reflects off a sundial sitting in a garden-type setting

This sundial was a gift from the Class of 1903.

According to the Office of Annual Giving, the first documented class gift was a rock commemorating the Class of 1888 that, for decades, was located on John Sutton Hall’s east lawn. However, IUP archivist Harrison Wick believes a wooden desk on display in the Facilities office in Robertshaw may be an earlier gift—from the Class of 1880.

A group of men and women pose for an outdoor photo as they surround a rock engraved with “’88”

Members of the Class of 1888 pose with the “Rock of Ages,” their class gift to Indiana Normal School, at their 25-year reunion. Former preceptress Jane Leonard is third from right. (IUP Archives)

A wooden roll-top desk with books, paper, and an old typewriter resting on it

IUP archivist Harrison Wick believes this desk, marked “1880” at the top, was a gift to the school from the Class of 1880.

A rock engraved with “’88” is in the foreground, with John Sutton Hall behind it

The “Rock of Ages,” a gift to Indiana State Normal School from the Class of 1888, is believed to have remained on Sutton Hall’s east lawn through the early 1990s. This photo was taken in 1975. (IUP Archives)

In recent years, students have carried on that giving spirit, raising thousands of dollars for scholarships and projects that benefit their peers and their university. Key to the success of those giving challenges have been matching funds from IUP alumni. These funds encourage students to give by doubling or even tripling the impact of their gifts.

For the 2017–18 Student Giving Challenge, Terry Serafini ’61 designated $10,000 to match student gifts for the Grant Street Park project, which transformed Grant Street between Pratt Drive and 11th Street to the pedestrian haven it is today. The following year, Serafini provided $25,000 in matching funds for student gifts to the food pantry.

A student travels a broad walkway that snakes through campus green space, with buildings on either side

The Grant Street Park project, which transformed a section of the street into a campus green space, was the focus of the Student Giving Challenge in 2017–18.

Malaika Turner shows Terry Serafini around the food pantry, with its shelves of canned and boxed goods, while Dani Wade watches

Terry Serafini ’61 (with Malaika Turner, left, and Dani Wade) toured the IUP Food Pantry and Help Center in 2019. He provided matching funds for that year’s Student Giving Challenge, which benefited the food pantry.

Last spring, Stephen Abel ’73 joined Serafini in providing $10,000 in matching funds for IUP Giving Day. Their goal: to help students realize they are in school through the generosity of others. That way, students will be more likely to pay it forward when they become alumni.

Portrait of Stephen Abel on a walkway surrounded by grass

Stephen Abel ’73 has provided $10,000 in matching funds for the Student Giving Challenge that starts November 30, 2021.

Abel is leading the next Student Giving Challenge, which officially kicks off on Giving Tuesday, November 30. He has designated $10,000 to add $10 per gift to the first 1,000 student gifts of $5 or more.

The focus of this year’s challenge is “Pick Your Passion,” meaning students choose the area they wish to support.

A 2018 recipient of IUP’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Abel retired as a US Army colonel after a 27-year military career. He went on to serve as deputy commissioner in the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and then as founding director of Veterans Programs and Services at Rutgers University.

Abel has been a staunch supporter of IUP’s Veterans Assistance Fund and Military and Veterans Resource Center, with a goal of making sure veterans have what they need to stay in school.

“The gifts are a way of thanking IUP for my success while making it possible for another generation to succeed.”

Profiled in IUP Magazine for his longtime giving, Abel explained the inspiration for his generosity.

“I have lived a rather charmed life, and IUP played a significant role in making it so,” he said. “So, in a sense, I have a debt to pay.

“The gifts are a way of thanking IUP for my success while making it possible for another generation to succeed and, I hope, contribute to this great country.”

 

Past Student Giving Challenges

Fiscal Year

Amount Raised

Participants

Giving Focus

2014–15

$8,129

391

Dean’s Merit Scholarships

2015–16

$9,354

470

Dean’s Merit Scholarships

2016–17

$9,499

473

Dean’s Merit Scholarships

2017–18

$13,344

935

Grant Street Park

2018–19

$14,435

953

Food Pantry

2019–20

$14,014

1,062

Pick Your Passion

2020–21*

$9,927*

456*

Pick Your Passion

*Because of the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of students were on campus.

Watch for more information on the 2021–22 Student Giving Challenge.