Class of ’93 sets new standard for 25th Reunions

The Class of 1993 marches in the Alumni Parade during Reunion 2018. The class broke fundraising and attendance records in celebration of their 25th Reunion. (Jonathan Reece for Bates College)

Twenty-five years after graduating from Bates, the Class of 1993 returned to campus for Reunion determined to make a mark. Their yearlong endeavor to celebrate this milestone culminated in a record-breaking showing for a 25th Reunion: highest attendance at 32 percent, largest class gift to the Bates Fund of $253,293, and highest Bates Fund participation rate of 66 percent.

The previous Bates Fund gift record of $247,825 had been set by the Class of 1980, one of whose leaders is Chair of the Board of Trustees Mike Bonney. Class of 1993 Reunion Gift Co-Chair Mike Charland—a driving force behind his class’s fundraising success—says that once this record was within reach, it catalyzed efforts.

“We set a lofty goal of $250,000 at the beginning of the year, but as we began to reach milestones along the way, it snowballed, and we thought, ‘wow, this is attainable. We really can break this record,’” Charland says.“That helped motivate the committee and our entire class.”

Charland cites teamwork and collaboration as integral components of the committee’s approach to Reunion planning, and fundraising in particular. Five classmates, including Charland, Gift Co-Chair Peter Bysshe, Sheelyn Marker Michael, Aaron Wey, and Ralph “Chip” Hinckley, joined together to provide a $25,000 challenge match, launched in mid-May. Their hope was to inspire $25,000 in new Bates Fund gifts by the close of Reunion Weekend by offering the dollar-for-dollar match incentive. Two weeks after launching the challenge, and well before Reunion, that total was exceeded. Charland says this approach empowered all five donors to “personally reach out to their classmates and say, ‘join me.’ It was impactful.”

Amy Jefferson, Associate Director of Annual Giving, attributes the class’ success to a robust and diverse committee and strong and dedicated class leadership. “Every single person on the committee did the work,” says Jefferson. “They were excited to reconnect with one other and very motivated to become a record-breaking class.”

In a congratulatory email sent to volunteers, Bonney commended the class: “I must confess that I’m surprised the outstanding Class of 1980’s record has been broken, but it goes to show how impressive your class’s Reunion effort was this year,” writes Bonney. “There is no doubt that your class is having an impact on the college, as you help ensure that fundamental aspects of a Bates education are secured.”

Charland and Social Co-Chair Lauren Fine said they had heard feedback from classmates since Reunion, and a lot of it. “It was an amazing weekend,” says Fine, who, along with Social Co-Chair Jason Hanley, was bestowed a Bates’ Best Award by President Clayton Spencer at their class dinner. “I’ve heard from so many classmates who’ve said how fun it was, how much they loved being back on campus, and how they can’t wait for our 30th.”

Following this banner year, the goal for the Class of 1993 is to continue the momentum leading up to their 30th Reunion in 2023. Asked whether he hopes other 25th Reunion classes can be as successful as his, Charland laughs. “I want them all to come about $10 and two people short of breaking our records,” he jokes. “Enough to still make a huge difference for Bates, but not to take our titles.”

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