Student support raves during Waynesburg University’s Day of Giving

An announcement was made on Friday, Nov. 3, at noon in the Benedum Dining Hall where it was shared the University raised $496,520, which was above their $250,000 goal.

“I feel like the entire campus community embraced and supported our 2023 Day of Giving,” wrote Donna Nypaver, director of donor relations and annual giving, via email.

Waynesburg University’s eighth annual Day of Giving, or DOG, occurred on Nov. 2. The total is tallied online at 

Passing the goal, 1,023 individuals donated  funds for Waynesburg University’s DOG, according to Maura Fenske, coordinator of development and alumni relations. 

According to Fenske, if they reached the goal of 350 alumni donors during the alumni donor challenges starting at 2 p.m. and lasting until 11:59 p.m., a donor would donate an additional $10,000. 

Last year, the DOG alumni donor count was reported at 355, while this year, the alumni donor count was 399. According to David Floyd, director of development and alumni relations, one of the trends he noticed was that people were interested in being able to both support the Day of Giving and purchase a brick. 

Of the total number of donations, $195,000 was raised by teams and departments, according to Floyd.

As always, there were two academic winners, two sports winners and one overall winner who all received additional prizes, which served as incentives, as stated by Fenske. These additional prizes include $1,500 for first place and $1,000 for second place, according to Floyd.

For the fifth year in a row, the softball team, who raised over $24,000, took the trophy as overall DOG champion. “Our overall champion was softball again, so obviously, as you can see on the website, they killed it,” Fenske said. As the overall winner, the softball team will also receive an additional $2,500.

Placing first under athletics is the baseball team, who raised $8,560.13 with 22 donors. “It’s nice to see baseball make that stride because it’s not a huge team, so that’s very cool,”  Fenske said.

The football team placed second under athletics, raising $4,985.00 with 18 donors.

As for academics, the Department of Business Administration was crowned number one with $7,450.22 raised by 39 donors. 

“[Dr.] Gordon McClung’s passing was very obviously sad and we were devastated, but the positive thing that came out of it was the faculty in the business department, especially Dr. Melinda Walls, who is the department chair, decided with Dr. McClung’s wife that they were going to honor him through raising money to name a classroom in honor of him, and they’re going to turn the classroom into a board room, which is basically where high-level CEOs and executives meet, serving as a way for them to sort of get real world practice presenting to a board room, and it’s huge so a very cool initiative,” Fenske said.

“I think that drove a lot of donors, he was here the last 10-15 years. I don’t know the exact number, but I had him, a lot of my friends and fellow graduates had him, and his legacy is just really far-reaching, so it’s really nice to be able to honor him in this way, and it was beautiful that Mindy [Walls] chose to do that,” Fenske stated.

The second place winner under academics was biblical and ministry studies, with $7,335.00 raised by 47 donors. “Talk about a culture of philanthropy, BMS is a perfect example of that because those students get to see the exact places their money goes and how it’s used. They get to take trips, they get books and bibles and experiences that are outstanding,” Fenske said. 

A trend Floyd shared was student support and participation, as students were involved in events and their departments and teams.

“I think it definitely was because we were really fortunate to receive student support in so many different areas; one thing, of course, we did have some students who made contributions, which is awesome, but we’re even looking more so at people who are involved and coming to our events, within their departments maybe holding little activities or reaching out to alumni or some of their friends and family members, and same thing on some of the athletic teams,” Floyd said.

The alumni relations, university relations and institutional advancement offices team up to put on the DOG. Fenske stated it was good to be back, and they have honed their skills from year to year and changed strategies like switching up marketing.

Fenske and Floyd discussed their efforts to generate buzz across campus, to drive engagement and achieve their goal of facilitating a culture of philanthropy at Waynesburg University. 

Fenske stated the team has been a little concerned regarding generating buzz across campus due to COVID, which required people to social distance and wear masks. 

“It felt good to be back with everybody and be able to drive that energy throughout the week leading up, and then yeah, we never actually know until the day of how it’s going to go, but the fact that so many of our very recent, most of our recent grads donated is encouraging,” Fenske said.

At Harvest Fest, the alumni relations team hosted a table and engaged with students on campus. Floyd and Fenske agreed the goal of creating participation and instilling a culture of philanthropy on campus was achieved this year.

“In addition… our alumni counsel, because we are doing the 175th brick fundraised, decided amongst themselves, we didn’t ask them, that they would purchase a brick in honor of the class that raised the most donations, not money but number of gifts, which was super creative, and it was the class of 2023, so that was so fun and a little bit surprising, but we loved it, it was great to see that,” Fenske said.

The most active class year was the class of 1974, who will be celebrating their 50th reunion next fall, followed by the class of 2014 and the class of 2019, Floyd stated. The University does not always receive high engagement from the new graduating classes, but this year, that was not the case, Fenske noted.

“I think that really shows they were a class that was here during a challenging time period, but also saw the benefit I think of the DOG and other initiatives like this, so they gave back more as far as the participation than any other class,” Floyd stated.

Nypaver wrote, “This is our 8th Day of Giving, and we continue to be blessed with wonderful support from the entire Waynesburg University community.  It is heartwarming to see how many people care about our students and the University. I think that is a testament to how much Waynesburg means to so many people and how this University has impacted so many lives.”

“The class of 2019 was here for every year was a Day of Giving as well, so I think seeing the participation from those younger groups really shows what a difference a day like this makes toward building that culture [of philanthropy],” Floyd stated.

When asked if they reached their goals this year, Nypaver wrote, “Absolutely. I see more and more recent graduates giving back during our Day of Giving. Our recent graduates experienced first-hand the impact these donations had on their Waynesburg experience, and they continue to pay it forward.”

Fenske shared an example in which this year, they switched up their marketing and focused on alumni from the past seven years, which is significant because the DOG started eight years ago.

“I do feel like we improved, and every year we have a chance to hone our skills, and we do things a bit differently year to year,” Fenske said.

“I continue to be amazed at the kindness of this wonderful community. The goal of the Institutional Advancement team is to raise as much money as possible to support our students. It is so rewarding to be able to impact the educational experience for all our students,” Donna Nypaver wrote.

Fenske stated alumni have seen the impact of the donations and what they can do for teams and departments, so they have more of a desire to donate, especially to something they are passionate about.

Floyd extended his gratitude for the support and participation received during the 2023 DOG, and Fenske also shared gratitude for the departments and teams who worked with their office.

“It really is something that takes a lot of people to be able to make it happen, so we’re always grateful for that support,” Floyd said.