Golden Petrels raise funds to support current students

Amidst the festivities of Alumni Weekend, an esteemed group of alumni gathered for a special celebration. The Golden Petrels—a cohort of Oglethorpe University alumni who graduated fifty or more years ago—participated in a reunion luncheon to officially welcome the Class of 1974 into the Golden Petrel Society. Each class member attending was formally presented with a Golden Petrel medal by President Kathryn McClymond.

Members of the class of 1974 stand together.

Members of the Class of 1974 received their Golden Petrel medals at a special lunch during Alumni Weekend.

For the Golden Petrels, the passage of time has only deepened their appreciation for the transformative power of a liberal arts education. Throughout the room, stories of their Oglethorpe experience were shared, with many speaking fondly of both the intellectual pursuits and lifelong friendships nurtured on campus.

In the weeks leading up to Alumni Weekend, alumni Neil Tofsky ’74 and his wife Pam Tofsky ’76, took an extra step to get their classmates engaged and issued a matching gift challenge to help raise funds for the Golden Petrels Endowed Scholarship Fund.

The Golden Petrels Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 through the generosity of the Classes of 1963 and 1964 as part of the celebration of their 50th reunions. The intention of the scholarship is “to give to others, so they too can be enriched by an Oglethorpe education.” Each year, the Golden Petrel Society inductees are invited to contribute to this fund, to continue the Golden Petrel tradition of enriching the educational experience of the next generation of Petrel students.

This year, thanks to the Tofsky’s multiple matching gift challenges, and the response from many Golden Petrel alumni, more than $15,000 was raised for this scholarship fund. This was a record-breaking amount raised in a single year, and the funds will help to grow this scholarship endowment, ensuring that the scholarship awarded each year can make a meaningful impact for students.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates this commitment through volunteerism, philanthropy, community service or other ways of giving themselves to others. This year’s recipient, Kennedy Bell, is a junior at Oglethorpe, majoring in film and media studies. She is an engaged participant in campus activities, serving as an orientation mentor, Core Learning Assistant and a member of OU’s cheer team.

“Receiving a scholarship does more than I can describe right now. Although Oglethorpe is a perfect fit for me, financially, I need to take out loans to continue attending here,” Bell says. “The Golden Petrels Scholarship will alleviate this burden and motivate me even further to pursue my studies here at Oglethorpe and become the best student I can be.”

With generous support from Golden Petrels this year, and into the future, this scholarship fund continues to serve as an example of alumni paying it forward to a new generation of students poised to make a life, make a living, and make a difference.

View more photos from the Golden Petrels luncheon.

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