Of the many great traditions honored at WPI, that of philanthropy is the cornerstone of the university. When John Boynton founded the school 157 years ago, he did so believing an education based in science and technology should be available to all, not just those with the means to afford it.
For generations, WPI has worked to maintain this great tradition, and today dedicated alumni hold fast to the culture of philanthropy by serving as ambassadors to both Giving Day, its single biggest day of philanthropy, and the Goat Nation Challenge, a weeklong fundraising challenge to benefit the university’s 13 varsity athletic teams. Ambassadors and donors who support these collective efforts play a key role in Beyond These Towers: The Campaign for WPI.
Alumni ambassadors serve as cheerleaders to help rally philanthropic giving to the university. Many support their personal passions on campus by providing additional visibility for their favored student clubs, athletic teams, academic departments, etc.
For example, the story of the newly formed WPI Equestrian Club was shared with the entire WPI community in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without one of their members serving as an ambassador. Likewise, by having an ambassador from the Alumni of Color Association, the group was able to raise funds to support the new Dr. Debora Jackson Endowment for BIPOC Students.
Valerie Mason ’92, P’25, who served as a Giving Day Ambassador in support of global projects, is head of process and business excellence for global HR at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. “I serve as a WPI philanthropy ambassador because I want others to afford the same or better experiences as I was afforded. If I can give back and help an aspiring scientist, engineer, author, teacher, or game designer, I’ve done my alumni duty,” Mason says.
“I really enjoyed reconnecting with my classmates while I served as a Giving Day Ambassador for WPI,” she adds. “It was a fun challenge to help the organizations that mean the most to me, and it rekindled my love for the four years I spent at WPI as a student, and for the four years I’m currently spending as a parent.”
Philanthropy ambassadors receive training along with a toolkit of ideas, photos to use in promoting their cause, and samples of email and social media messages. Additionally, ambassadors receive a unique URL to use when asking others to make a gift. This allows WPI to track in real time how effective each ambassador is and enables ambassadors to compete for bragging rights and WPI swag prizes.
All alumni are invited to serve as WPI philanthropy ambassadors. Visit the Giving Day website: givingday.wpi.edu to view recent Giving Day ambassadors. To register as a Goat Nation Giving Challenge ambassador, please contact Liz Chirico at firstname.lastname@example.org.