Class of 2014 Grads Join GOLD Alumni Group

July 20, 2016

All of the 733 students who walked across Denison Terrace during this year's Commencement Ceremony instantly became Wesleyan alumni of the GOLD division (Graduates of the Last Decade). Welcome at all alumni events, the GOLD group also sponsors activities of its own, sets fundraising goals for itself, and incubates its own leaders.

In spring 2014 GOLD alumni mounted a month-long campaign to raise funding for a one-year scholarship for a current student. Over just 37 days, young alums made 515 gifts totaling $41,219. (The average scholarship grant is about $39,000.)

This project culminated with the annual GOLD Parties (falling this year on April 3), when alums across the globe organize get-togethers in their home cities. With over 500 participants counted at 13 locations around the world (from New Haven to Hong Kong), the 2014 parties broke all attendance and giving records. Alums praised great locations, good food and drink, and the chance to connect or re-connect with Wes friends.

What’s more, many (most!) of those who hadn’t yet given to the scholarship challenge made gifts on the spot—and some made an extra contribution. Boston led the lively pack with 93% of the partyers donating.

Alumni from older classes generously hosted a number of the GOLD parties. But in other cases, GOLD alumni themselves stepped up to sponsor in their town. For David Stone ’04 this was his third year hosting the LA GOLD Party. He notes that it takes attention to foster ongoing connection.

“The GOLD events,” he remarks, “do exactly that: they remind us of our bond to one another and to Wesleyan, and they remind us what a special place it is.” He adds, “The GOLD parties are a nice reminder that giving at all levels is important, and that charitable giving should not be limited to later in life.” An English and Film Studies double major and member of the soccer team, David now works at William Morris Endeavor, where, with Rick Rosen P’08, he co-hosted the June 2014 Shasha Seminar on the Road: “Wesleyan in Hollywood.” (Pictured left to right at the Shasha Seminar: President Michael Roth '78, David Stone ’04, host; Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies; Professor Jeanine Basinger; and Steve Collins ’96, assistant professor of film studies.)

For Jared Ashe ’07 (pictured at right), Chicago is a relatively new home base. His work with the advisory and asset management firm Lazard led him there a year and a half ago from New York, where he had been connected to a large Wesleyan community. Jared volunteered to host the April GOLD party and upgraded the site from the one first suggested. The turnout of thirty alums exceeded all expectations. “It was a cool venue, and the energy was great,” Jared said. “It was a nice feeling to see all those people, a tribute to Wes. I saw some old friends—even my former RA, for the first time since I left campus. They didn’t want to leave after two hours.”

Jared, an economics major and Cardinal soccer and basketball player, has also been involved with other young alumni and with current students through offering career assistance. He explains that fellow Lazard employee Andrew Lacey ’89 played a key role in his own employment, and now Jared is eager to recruit Wes graduates. “In fact,” he reports, “we recently hired John Guay ’13.” Like David Stone, Jared urges giving back financially as much as possible and staying in touch. He encourages GOLD group members to “connect up and down the alumni spectrum.”

For more information on how to get involved as a class representative or in other ways, contact Wesleyan’s GOLD liaison, Joe Giaimo ’11 at jgiaimo@wesleyan.edu or (860) 685-3693.