Class Gift 2017: Leaving Our Legacy

Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

You have seen the table in winter garden.  If you’re a second year you have definitely seen our emails, texts and words of encouragement.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen - it is clear that class gift season is upon us.  

Each year the outgoing class at Booth completes a donation drive intended to benefit our future student body.  This spring, we are targeting $125,000 in donations with 95% participation from our outgoing class to fund a legacy for the Class of 2017.  Your class gift committee has been working hard to drum up participation and donations.  

When we speak about Class Gift, you hear how Booth is compared to other schools on the basis of participation and overall gift amounts.  This is a generalization of just one goal of class gift.  If we take a moment to look inwards, there are personal reasons for all of us to buy into the spirit of advancement at the University of Chicago.

For me, I have drawn an incredible amount from Booth.  I came here expecting to leave with a better education, stronger network and fancier job title.  I did not expect that I would be leaving here with the incredible wealth of experiences behind me that I have accumulated.  The challenges that I have taken advantage of here include facing my fearful athleticism in Rugby, co-chairing our alumni relations club, serving as a law school LEAD facil, leading a random walk, co-chairing our cohort’s Gargoyles video, acting in Follies, competing in leadership challenge and case competitions…the list goes on.  The personal growth I have witnessed in myself through my two years here is dramatic and striking.  I have grown more confident, aware and capable.   

I have had the opportunity to do all of these things surrounded by the most talented, capable and amazing people that I could have ever imagined.  Without a doubt, some of my strongest and hopefully lifelong friendships will come out of Booth.  I’ve experienced an entirely different sort of growth through my recruiting commiseration sessions with Andrew Heeter and Tom Kozlowski or late night Costa Rica random walk ‘planning sessions’, defeating one ounce frosty beverages with the help of Doug Sutherland, Alex Sukhareva and Valen Egaña.  Seeing how my peers here tackle their own personal road to success has been a learning experiences all of its own.  

The mission of this year’s Class Gift is to provide significant scholarship opportunities to candidates who have proven themselves as community builders and leaders.  I was especially touched by this mission and it helped both draw me to the committee and secure my own donation.  All of the experiences I have described at Booth have been made stronger because of our student body’s pay it forward mentality, humble attitude and constant desire for improvement.  It was a differentiating factor that drew me to Booth.  I am excited that my donation can help make this an affordable experience for future candidates who have already proven themselves as individuals who can and will contribute to our unique culture.   

Soon, we will be leaving this institution.  This campaign gives us an opportunity to leave our legacy.  In a year, or two, or three, you or I may be interviewing a candidate and see the “Class of 2017 Scholarship Award” on their resume.  If so, I know I will feel pride in knowing I helped recruit a future community leader to Booth. If you have already give your donation, thank you.  If you have not, I invite you to join us - there is still a short window of time left to make an impact.