The Meds ’74 40th Reunion Class Gift story - Written by Andrew Pipe
Our experiences as medical students at Queen’s were transformational to say the least, and they prepared my classmates and I for wonderfully fulfilling careers in health care. Understanding that we can never adequately repay the institution for the high quality education that we received some 40 years ago, we have felt compelled to give back in whatever ways that we can.
The initial idea for the Meds ’74 40th Reunion class gift was born out of discussions between Gord Francis, Bob Reid, Sarah Prichard and myself as members of the Faculty of Health Sciences Campaign Cabinet. After we had each made financial commitments to the Initiative Campaign, we wanted to challenge our classmates to help make a significant reunion class gift to the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Although very ambitious, we settled on the target of raising a total of $400,000 for the Initiative Campaign by asking our classmates to consider making a significant contribution as part of our 40-year reunion. This was no trivial sum, but after experiencing the zest with which our class raised funds for the new medical building in 2009, we knew that we were up for the challenge. In fact, a gift timed with our 40-year reunion would be the perfect way to continue our tradition of fundraising for the Faculty.
Aware that many of our classmates were approaching retirement, or were already there, we decided to up the stakes. Rather than ask for the typical gift amount of $1-3,000, we raised the bar, asking our classmates to dig deep and consider giving $10,000. “Think of this donation as a once-in-a-lifetime gift to Queen’s, and make it count,” is what we told them.
We knew that if we succeeded, we would be raising one of, if not the largest, class gifts organized by a medical alumni class at Queen’s. Recognizing that each of our classmates would have different motivations to give, we took another step away from the typical fundraising path: rather than raise funds for one cause that would have the Meds ’74 name, we proposed that our classmates personalize their gifts, choosing the cause or area that carried the most meaning to them personally, whether it was a scholarship or bursary, a specific type of research or department.
What followed was a campaign of letters, emails and follow-up phone calls to our classmates. We started in July, and slowly but surely, the contributions started rolling in. By the time our class gathered in Kingston for homecoming in October, we were only $55,000 away. And by the end of the weekend –in part spurred by a pledge to match the final gifts – we had reached our goal based on donations from 60% of the class!
The 40th Reunion Meds ’74 Class Gift would never have come to fruition had it not been for the leadership of Gord, Sarah and Bob who all dream big and work tirelessly to inspire others to do the same. Thank you Gord, and to Sarah and Bob, who, by showing their support early on, made this a highly realistic endeavor. And of course, thanks go to the members of Meds ’74 – classmates, colleagues and friends without equal! I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. The response from our class is a reflection of the great and enduring affection that we feel toward Queen’s and the Faculty. We’re thrilled to know that our gifts will inspire discovery, enhance teaching and advance care for many years to come.
Andrew Pipe, Meds ‘74