Giving to Yale

Elihu Day Celebrates a Tradition of Giving to Yale

Mike Wolner ’14 (center) signs a thank-you card for a Yale donor.

On November 2, 2011, students from across the Yale campus participated in the inaugural Elihu Day event to celebrate and thank the University’s generous donors. Students enjoyed refreshments and signed personal thank-you cards at stations in Yale College and at the participating schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Hundreds of students signed the thank-you cards, which Yale will distribute to alumni, parents, and friends who have made gifts to the University. Sponsored by the Yale Alumni Fund, the event was the first of what is hoped will become an annual tradition University-wide.

Jack Thomas ’80, Chair of the Yale Alumni Fund, was on hand for the day. He noted, “Gifts from individuals—alumni, parents—allow every student to have the Yale experience. When I was a student, donors shaped the exceptional opportunities I had. For alumni who give, it’s a way to honor the generosity of those who helped you in the past.”

Making the Yale experience possible

Students participating in Elihu Day shared Thomas’s enthusiasm. “This is a really cool idea, especially for someone like me who is at Yale completely through financial aid,” said Alex Chituc ’13. “If people didn’t donate, I wouldn’t be here.”

Julia Huang ’14, a participant and volunteer who helped to organize the event, echoed this sentiment. “Yale is one of the few schools that offers full financial aid,” she said. “As an international student from China, I’m very grateful and enthusiastic about thanking donors today.”

This is a really cool idea, especially for someone like me who is at Yale completely through financial aid. —Alex Chituc '13

Undergraduates were also quick to make the connection between philanthropy and the wide range of opportunities that make a Yale education extraordinary.

“This is a great idea,” Mike Wolner ’14 said as he signed a thank-you card. “A big part of the Yale experience is what you can participate in outside of classes, such as Dwight Hall and other community service and social organizations.”

Gabriel Botelho ’14, Carlene Miller ’14, and Eric Baudry ’14 went to Minnesota last summer with Bulldogs on the Lakes program, where they had the chance to interact with alumni in person. “On the trip, we were able to meet both older and younger alums, and it was a great experience,” Miller said. They all agreed that the opportunity to thank donors was particularly important for Yale students.

Honoring three centuries of support

Elihu Day was named in honor of Elihu Yale, one of the University’s earliest benefactors. More than three hundred years ago, he donated nine bales of goods, over four hundred books, and a portrait of King George I to the Connecticut colony’s fledgling Collegiate School. To show their gratitude, the school’s trustees named the institution Yale College.