Alumni want to help

May 12, 2016

I have to disagree with Richard Budd’s belief that alumni donations are just weird (“Isn’t asking for alumni donations, well, just weird?”, 25 April).

For 11 years I worked on the senior leadership team at Birkbeck, University of London. There I witnessed students, young and old and from every walk of life, transforming their lives by studying in the evening. No surprise then that once they graduated, Birkbeck alumni were extremely motivated to stay connected and support the non-traditional students following after them.

In the past six months I’ve started working for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. At CASE, we help universities across the world to build resilience and capacity at a time of change and challenge. Many of the universities that I have worked with are experiencing cutbacks in government funding. They all believe that their alumni can and wish to help.

I’ve met many alumni donors who believe that they are making a difference. Like me, they believe that their universities are engaged in the business of nation building; that they are anchor institutions in their city, region, country or continent; that they help individuals achieve their potential, create opportunities for social mobility, shape the future of society and help to build future leaders.

It would be nice if governments were able to fully fund higher education but that aspiration seems to fly in the face of global reality. In the real world, I don’t think it’s at all weird that alumni want to play their part. Nor do they.

Tricia King
Vice-president, global engagement

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