Class of 2012 bequeaths scholarships

Benches, plaques, art, fountains -- these are typical class gifts. Tangible things you can sit on, gaze upon, drink from.

Cognizant of the growing financial pressures on college students, Iowa State's class of 2012 opted to leave something different to the alma mater. The class set up an endowment that will fund scholarships for upperclassmen.

Thus far, more than 600 recent graduates have pledged $45,400 to the scholarship fund.

Record breaker

The students who work the phones, seeking gifts to Iowa State from alumni and friends, have raised a record $3.75 million this fiscal year.

"That's an average of $74 per graduate," said Sarah Johnson, a program manager in the ISU Foundation.  "And we expect the endowment to grow in the next couple of weeks as student fundraisers finish making contacts with the graduating seniors."

As is traditional, the class of 2012 selected its gift from a list of three ideas presented by the Student Alumni Leadership Council. The new endowment is intended to fund scholarships for students who have reached their senior year of school.

"Other than the stipulation that the recipients be seniors, there's no other restrictions on who can receive a scholarship," Johnson said. "Those decisions will be left up to ISU's financial aid office."

Why seniors?

Johnson said seniors statistically have the fewest opportunities to receive scholarships. "This is a way for the graduating class to give to the next class."

She added, "We hope that future classes will add to this worthy endowment so that it continues to grow."