Giving to Yale

Students Celebrate Donor Generosity on Elihu Day

Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway ’95 Ph.D. joined students in saying “thank you” at the sixth annual Elihu Day. The campus tradition teaches students about the impact of giving back to Yale.

On September 27, 2016, Yale students celebrated the generosity of university donors at the sixth annual Elihu Day. At stations across the campus, students completed 931 handwritten thank-you cards that will be mailed to Yale alumni and parents who contributed to the university. Sponsored by the Yale Alumni Fund, the campus tradition recognizes alumni, parents, and friends who help the university meet its most essential needs—including financial aid, teaching and research, collections support, and renewal of the campus.

Elihu Day is named in honor of Elihu Yale, a London businessman and philanthropists and one of the university’s earliest benefactors. Over three hundred years ago, his gifts renamed the Connecticut colony’s Collegiate School. For the next century, his gifts stood as the largest private contribution to the university.

Yale students “Elihu” each year by composing messages of gratitude to donors. This year, students in Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the schools of divinity, medicine, music, nursing, and public health signed cards, while they enjoyed apple cider and donuts.

When asked what message he had penned in his thank-you card, Kellen Silver PC ’20 said: “Yale has been my dream school since I was four years old. Thank you for making my dreams, and the dreams of all Yalies, come true.”

For more information on Elihu Day, its namesake, and the impact of giving to the Yale Alumni Fund, please visit