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Give Day Makes a Splash

SPARTAN READY PHILANTHROPY

By Janet Siroto

Photos by Jessica Leigh

Give Day is always a much-anticipated, annual celebration. It’s the time the UT community comes together, cuts loose — and gives back. The funds raised in this 24-hour event fuel the University’s excellence. For instance, donations enrich a variety of scholarships that allow the school to welcome its diverse and driven students, many of whom would not be able to attend without this aid. Give Day is when the Spartan spirit truly shines and keeps UT soaring, today and tomorrow.

Give DayKeith Todd, vice president of development and university relations, flipped into the pool in his tux to help raise money for UT.

This past April, students, staff and faculty donated like never before, practically setting off financial fireworks. Last year, Give Day gathered $634,000, and few guessed that number could ever be topped. But come 2022, a record-smashing $1,095,171 was pledged.

This incredible figure represents an outpouring of generosity across campus. The dollars collected will turbocharge several vital scholarships. Talk about Spartan Ready Philanthropy — that’s it in action.

AROUND-THE-CLOCK EVENTS

Beyond the remarkable amount raised, Give Day packed the campus with events that put the “fun” in fundraising. Live music echoed across campus, and snack stands offered up everyone’s favorite combo: coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts.

The Minaret Climb went virtual, putting a fresh spin on what has always been a popular activity on campus. Ascending those 61 narrow, serpentine steps to peek at the Tampa panorama is a Spartan rite of passage. This year, a virtual uphill climb had students, alumni, faculty and staff raising funds.

One other very memorable Give Day moment: As the Board of Fellows (BoF) challenged one another to raise more money than ever, Keith Todd, vice president of development and university relations, upped the ante. He promised to do a “tux plunge” into the UT pool if they met their lofty goal. No way were they going to pass up that opportunity; BoF members Erica Shea and C.J. Steadman activated their network and hit their magic number. True to his word, Todd donned a red velvet tuxedo and flipped into the pool.

RALLYING THE COMMUNITY 

Beyond the donuts and pool dunks, there were memorable moments bookending the big day. President Ronald Vaughn and First Lady Renée Vaughn addressed the campus virtually in the morning, reminiscing about UT’s humble beginnings with only 67 students and nary a building to call its own. Today, noted President Vaughn, more than 10,000 students stroll the beautiful campus, which now boasts 70 state-of-the-art buildings. The Vaughns also shared that 92% of UT students receive financial aid, and the number is growing, thanks to the ever-greater success of fundraising events like Give Day.

That evening, on the Southard Family Building patio, guests gathered for the Minarets at Sunset cocktail party, which was hosted by the Board of Counselors — and, for the first time, the event closed out the Give Day festivities. There was one more twist. Usually, the Give Day result is totaled after the event. This year, the team behind the scenes pulled off a real-time tally and announced the notable number on the spot. 

Now, the spotlight shifts to next year, and whether the Give Day generosity will set another incredible record. Will you be ready to join the fun?