Vanderbilt celebrates inaugural Giving Day

On April 21, members of the Vanderbilt community came together to give back to and celebrate the university during the first-ever Vanderbilt Giving Day.

In just 24 hours, more than 7,400 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends made gifts of all sizes to areas across Vanderbilt and raised more than $1.6 million. Supporters also secured $200,000 in challenge gifts to Opportunity Vanderbilt—the university’s initiative to replace all need-based undergraduate student loans with scholarships and grant assistance.

“We are extremely thankful to everyone who participated in Giving Day and helped us launch this new Commodore tradition,” said Kyle McGowan, assistant vice chancellor for annual giving. “[rquote]The contributions made on Giving Day, along with other gifts made throughout the year, are critical to Vanderbilt’s continued success. An investment in Vanderbilt is an investment in a better future.”[/rquote]

Gifts made on Giving Day will go to work immediately to fund things such as scholarships, groundbreaking research projects and innovative new programs.

“Vanderbilt gave me a great education, a lifetime of friends, and an excuse to get back to Nashville a couple of times a year. Giving Day helps ensure another generation of students can have the same life-changing experience we all did,” said television personality Willie Geist, BA’97.

Promotion for Giving Day began months ago with the help of more than 1,370 Giving Day Ambassadors—volunteers who helped to spread the word via social media. Official events kicked off at midnight on April 21, when students gathered at Dudley Field for the Gold Dash, a celebratory run across the football field to commemorate the occasion.

Throughout the day, a dozen other events took place on campus. University landmarks, including the steps of Kirkland Hall and the Commodore statue, “turned gold” to visibly mark the significance of the day. Alumni across the country also showed their gold by attending chapter events and posting photos of themselves wearing gold on their social media accounts.

“It was exciting to see how the entire Vanderbilt community rallied behind Giving Day in support of all the people and programs that make our university great,” said Patti White, president of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. “It truly shows how Commodores want to give back.”

Learn more about Giving Day results at

by Nicole Smith