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Need-blind terrace symbolizes 2014’s place in College history

By Brian Sobotko '16

October 3, 2013

The Class of 2014 has announced their plan for the Senior Gift: a terrace in front of the Siuda Admission House in honor of need-blind admission. The gift was revealed at the Senior Gift Kickoff Reception by keynote speakers including Chair of the Annual Fund Monty Pooley ’84, President Joan Hinde Stewart, and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer. Each speaker stated that the Class of 2014 is “epic” and expressed their excitement for the impact of the Gift.

The senior class is the first need blind class admitted to Hamilton. This was largely made possible in December 2009 at a meeting with trustees. There, Inzer presented need-blind admission as one way to move Hamilton forward during the period of economic uncertainty.

Inzer proposed need-blind as a goal for the future, yet just before the meeting could close, one trustee asked how much it would cost to initiate the plan that year. According to trustee Arthur Massolo ‘64, Inzer set the number at $2.5 million. Suddenly, trustees started pledging sizable amounts so as to make the next incoming class need-blind.

“Within a minute, these guys had put the money on the table,” Massolo explained.

Immediately, Inzer understood the massive impact this decision would have on the Hamilton community.

“I frankly had tears in my eyes thinking this college is going to do this really important thing right now,” Inzer remembered.

While the initial trustee generosity certainly got the initiative started, the program would need significant future funding to continue. Inzer expressed sincere gratitude towards the gift, which will call attention to the policy.

“The front terrace on the Siuda Admission House will be a great and permanent reminder of that important and transformative decision, made in December of 2009 by our board of trustees.  It is a thank you to all those who generously supported this important promise we make to our prospective families, and will hopefully serve as a motivation to others to pay forward their inheritance for future generations of Hamilton students,” Inzer explained.

The class recognizes and appreciates the special place they hold in Hamilton history by being the first class admitted need-blind, “To be the first class in the history of Hamilton College to be accepted based on merits alone, independent on ability to pay says a lot about each individual member of our class. We are all epic in our own respect and I am confident that we will mark our legacy on campus through our senior gift,” said class of 2014 President Felipe Garcia.

“The Senior Class liked the idea of having something to commemorate our class coming full circle. They also liked the idea of appreciating and thanking prospective students and families who come to Hamilton. Prospective students and families dedicate a lot of time to visiting colleges, and the college visiting process can be very expensive. We wanted to remind families that Hamilton appreciates them coming to visit, and that Hamilton values a student for his or her achievements and potential, and not family income,” said Senior Gift Co-chair  Sarah Mehrotra ’14.

The Senior Gift Committee now turns its attention to raising money to finance the terrace. The campaign’s success relies on the participation members of the class. According to the co-chairs, the past 22 classes have achieved participation rates over 90 percent. The Class of 2007 holds the President’s Cup, an award marking the highest class participation rate of 97.6 percent.

This year, the committee hopes to surpass that total. Compelling motivation to do so is the Presidential Participation Challenge, which is an additional $10,000 promised by President Stewart to be given towards the gift if the class meets certain participation targets culminating with 90 percent by May 1. Since announcing the campaign last week, the class has already reached over 11 percent participation.

The Class of 2013’s gift, an outdoor basketball court near the Babbitt Pavilion, is on schedule to be installed next September after completion of the new theater. Past senior gifts include the Alex Paganelli Memorial Class of 2012 Research Endowment, a gift to Hamilton’s Arts Initiative (2011) and a gift to the Environmental Sustainability Fund (2010).

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