Why is it, University Treasurer James F. Rothenberg ’68, M.B.A. ’70, asked his Tercentenary Theatre audience on Thursday afternoon, that he regularly hears a “low chuckle” after beginning his report “on the present state of the University’s resources” at the annual HAA meeting? Then he proceeded to business.
Harvard had received 88,000 gifts through the end of May from 30,000 alumni, he noted, thanks in good measure to efforts by the 4,000 volunteers laboring for the Harvard College Fund. The combined gifts from all of this year’s reunion classes, he announced, totaled $162 million. In particular, he praised both the brand-new alumni of the class of 2008, for their 63 percent gift-participation rate, and the most senior reunioners—from the classes of 1938 and 1943—who set new participation records for seventieth and sixty-fifth reunions, respectively. He also singled out the generous gifts of $26 million from the fiftieth reunion class of 1958 and $28 million from the twenty-fifth reunion class of 1983. But when it came to his fellow fortieth-reunioners, Rothenberg could not resist issuing a challenge to all future reunioners. The class of ’68, he proudly reported, had raised a total of $42 million from 900 donors—the second-largest gift from a reunion class in Harvard history.