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A return investment

Class of ’67 donates 50th anniversary gifts

The Verdin post clock got installed this past week to make the newest campus “destination.” (Photograph provided Becca Robb)

The Verdin post clock got installed this past week to make the newest campus “destination.” (Photograph provided Becca Robb)

By Chrysa Keenon | Echo

UPDATED 12:03 p.m.

Fifty years ago, the class of ’67 walked the grounds of Taylor. This Friday, they are returning to offer their wisdom and gifts to the university as they reunite for their reunion.

The gifts donated by the class include financial donations and the Verdin post clock, located outside of the Smith-Hermanson Music Building. The financial areas recommended by  Taylor’s administration to be donated toward included a Legacy ’67 Endowed Scholarship, Winterholder Field, the Bloomberg Terminal, the athletic weight room, the historic Prayer Chapel, promotional branding support to “Keep Taylor Taylor” and a general giving fund.

According to Chair of the Class of ’67 Reunion Committee Dick Gygi, the fundraising goals for the class were set high at $3.35 million, but the overall goal was to break the previous 50th anniversary class reunion record by raising more than $4.206 million. Gygi admitted the class’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)” was to raise $6.7 million because the class was the class of ’67. The class met and exceeded their goal, raising a record $6.8 million, as was announced this morning in chapel.

“We want every classmate (to) be able to come back some day with their kids or grandkids and say, ‘We did that,’” Gygi said. “‘And I helped with that clock. We did that in 2017.’ It’s a visible symbol of the legacy of the class.”

The idea for the Verdin post clock came late in the campaign. Gygi said the response from the administration went far beyond what the class was expecting. The area on campus with the clock has been made into a destination, an spot where Gygi hopes to have the ’67 class members renew their wedding vows or have current students get engaged.

Finding the perfect location on campus was a task Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland and President Lowell Haines undertook. According to Haines, both he and Sutherland walked the campus to find a place that would add to the aesthetic of campus without appearing too cramped.

“We’re always looking for ways to enhance the beauty,” Haines said. “When they came and brought the idea of the clock, I’ve seen those clocks before, and I thought, ‘That’d be wonderful.’ It was a matter of identifying the location.”

According to Gygi, in 1965 President Milo Rediger challenged each alumni class to bring a “transformational” gift to campus. The reunion tradition was built around Rediger’s vision of creating a beautiful destination for Taylor’s campus when the university board decided to keep the campus in Upland after debate of moving to Fort Wayne.

The verse paired with the clock is Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

“This verse encourages me to value highly and not waste even one day, or the opportunities within each day to learn and to work to develop that heart of wisdom God desires for me,” Ken Wolgemuth, chair of class of ’67 clock and legacy gift committee, said. “This is Taylor, for as a student on this campus, I began to develop this discipline.”

Gygi predicts around 90 members of the Class of ’67 will return for homecoming. There will be a memorial service for those class members who are deceased on Friday afternoon. The Verdin post clock will be dedicated by the class at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

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