There is a saying that the best part of the trip is the journey. I have been a part of the St. Thomas Faculty and Staff Annual Campaign for 15 years, and the journey has been fun; however, reaching the destination is pretty great, too.

Fifteen years ago, the St. Thomas Faculty and Staff Annual Campaign was a quiet affair. With a participation rate of 12 percent, it was unfortunately the least-supported campaign of all the private colleges and universities in Minnesota. When I took over management of the campaign, I was asked to “do the best you can.”

Thanks to the help of countless individuals across all of St. Thomas’ campuses, I am proud to announce that following a survey of all of Minnesota’s private colleges and universities, St. Thomas has risen to the top of the list, with a leading participation rate of 58 percent. I could not be prouder to be part of this generous community.

One reason for our success is the commitment of divisions and individual departments to achieve 100 percent participation. Let me publicly acknowledge these areas:

  • Enrollment Services
  • Student Affairs
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Selim Center for Learning
  • Murray Institute
  • Muslim Christian Dialogue Center
  • Geography
  • Health and Human Performance
  • Aerospace Studies
  • Center for Irish Studies
  • Center for Catholic Studies
  • Student Card Office
  • Minneapolis Bookstore
  • St. Paul Bookstore
  • Tommie Shop
  • Business Office
  • Controller’s Office
  • EDP Support
  • Payroll Department
  • Accounts Payable
  • Electricians
  • Painters
  • Purchasing Services

The challenge now is to stay on top. Not that we need motivation to stay number one, but let me provide you with one possible incentive.

As we are well aware, Father Dease is retiring at the end of the academic year. I know each of us would love to send him off with a gift. We could buy him a gold watch but when you’re retired, who cares about time? A rocking chair is always a thoughtful gift but then there are all of those accessories that go with it like a blanket, slippers and smoking jacket. That is a headache. How about a fishing pole? I don’t think so.

The easiest thing to do is to send Father Dease off with a gift we can all give – the highest participation rate ever in the Faculty and Staff Annual Campaign. I was thinking of something along the lines of 65 percent. It’s easy to do. A gift of any amount counts toward participation. For many, utilizing the option of making a gift through payroll deduction is the easiest. You are also welcome to make your gift by check or credit card. The important thing is to participate. In order to hit 65 percent participation, we will need 936 donors. Last year, we had 887 donors.

The Faculty and Staff Annual Campaign forms will be sent to everyone through intercampus mail at the beginning of March. If you have any questions regarding making a gift or the state of a current payroll deduction, please give me a call at (651) 962-6982.

Road trip anyone?