Students, faculty and campus visitors will have a chance to thank University of Montana donors for their support on Thursday, May 2, during PHILanthropy Day. Last year, 13,866 donors contributed $19 million to UM to support everything from student scholarships and academic programs to campus facilities.
PHILanthropy Day, affectionately dubbed PHIL Day, celebrates the generosity of UM donors and recognizes the role private gifts play at the University.
PHIL Day includes a party on the Oval from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Student members of the UM Islanders Steel Band will provide entertainment from noon to 1 p.m. Attendees will enjoy ice cream donated by Big Dipper and have the opportunity to write personal thank-you notes to University supporters.
Campus buildings that have been supported by private gifts will be marked with giant red bows, and signage around the Oval will list facts related to UM philanthropy.
“When I was a student at UM, the faculty and staff went above and beyond to help get me through school,” said Ray Ekness, chair of this year’s Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign and a radio-television professor. “I’ll always be thankful for what they did to make my time at UM such a great experience. Since I was lucky enough to join the UM faculty, I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ to my own students.
“But it’s more than just my time,” he said. “I give a financial gift to UM each year to help fund student scholarships, faculty research and help graduate students with their professional projects. It’s my way of saying ‘Thanks!’”
UM senior Shandell VanDonsel chairs this year’s Senior Class Gift campaign. She said, “As students, we owe our experience at UM to the generosity of those who came before us. PHIL Day is an opportunity to express our thanks and to remember all of UM’s alumni and friends who have given so much to this place.”
The UM Foundation distributed $9.4 million to the University during the 2011-2012 academic year. This includes $3.2 million for scholarships and awards, $5.4 million for academics and institutional support, and $790,000 for facilities and equipment. The Foundation works to ensure UM’s excellence, access and affordability through a public/private funding partnership.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Ray Ekness will attend the PHIL Day party on the Oval and will be available for media interviews from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Shandell VanDonsel will be available for media interviews from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Other UM Foundation representatives also will be available for interviews throughout the event.