Cor Challenge success prompts new scholarship fund

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Banners decorating lamp posts across campus celebrate the University of Dallas. Photo by Patrick Goodman.

March 2 concluded the most successful Cor Challenge that the University of Dallas has ever seen, with 705 contributors donating $186,350. The National Alumni Board (NAB) has created a $100,000 endowed scholarship, made possible by an anonymous donor, in response to this success.

Since 2012, the Cor Challenge, a week-long giving campaign aimed to increase alumni support for UD, has funded the university’s Cor Fund. The Cor Fund supports almost every aspect of UD, including scholarships, faculty development, clubs and organizations, campus enhancements, and athletics.

However, this year the Cor Challenge achieved unprecedented success. According to the results published on the University of Dallas Facebook page, donations came from 705 alumni in 41 states, 19.6 percent of whom were first-time donors. The amount raised this year is a $61,111 increase from last year’s challenge and a $111,981 increase from the 2012 Money Bomb.

The key to this year’s success was an anonymous $100,000 donation from a director of the NAB that incentivized the ambitious goals of the Cor Challenge, said Andrew Farley, a UD alumnus who serves as president of the NAB. The donor and NAB promised that if the Challenge met its ambitious goals of $175,000 and 700 donors, they would donate an additional $100,000 to create a scholarship fund.

Farley said that the director called him to offer the donation, telling him, “I want us to do something spectacular this year.”

The NAB proposed the endowed scholarship incentive to the Office of Advancement three days before the Cor Challenge began, Farley said. Initially, the Office of Advancement refused the proposition because the marketing for the Cor Challenge was already complete. The offer was too great to turn down, however, and the marketing team worked to promote the new incentive.

“Our success is thanks to the great work of each member of our team,” said Mike Pitstick, an alumnus and advancement officer who headed much of the marketing behind the Cor Challenge this year. “From marketing, to alumni relations, to my colleagues in development, to the National Alumni Board, to our student interns, everyone really gave their best and didn’t give up.”

After scholarships and government grants are applied, the NAB scholarship fund will pay tuition, room and board for two to three students, according to Farley.

“Anybody can get it,” Farley said. “We don’t know the rules or what you have to do to apply for it.”

The NAB scholarships will begin to be awarded next year, Farley said.

We are very excited about this and [are] ready to start helping ease the financial burden of our outstanding students,” Farley added.

The NAB plans to continue growing the fund through future Cor Challenges. The Cor Challenge next year may include a dollar-to-dollar match for the NAB scholarship fund, according to Farley.

“It will be a gift of perpetuity,” Farley said of the scholarship. “And I’d like to see the bar set even higher.”

An overwhelming sense of gratitude towards UD characterizes the responses of alumni who contributed to the Cor Challenge.

“Our alumni give out of a sense of gratitude in recognition of the gifts the university gave to each of us,” said Michael Dixon, an alumnus who serves as the Chair of the Alumni Participation and Engagement Committee on the NAB. “The benefits we have received as a result of our education, the fulfillment in our lives and careers, is important to us, and our success allows us to give back in order to provide the same opportunities to the next generation.”

“Generosity is the fruit of gratitude,” Farley said. “[At UD] you don’t just receive the world’s finest education, you also receive friendships with fellow students and faculty members. We are grateful for what we were given, and to be able to translate that into other things is really the whole point of a transformative education like that of UD. And this is just one way of doing that.”

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