Non Scholae

They came in droves. They showed up. They returned to their school on the hill with discounted train tickets, a nostalgic camaraderie and outdated shirts, proclaiming ‘Senior’… of the Class of 2008 – or even 2007. The day, Andover/Exeter, was theirs in many ways. But it seems that recent graduates do little else – beyond making the trip and painting their faces – to show their affection for Phillips Academy. In four years, they’ll return once more for the first of many reunions – occasions both weighty and light-hearted. They’ll size one another up and reminisce. Some will claim that this school shaped their character, while others will look back on lazy days and lost time. But you can’t pay for Commons renovations or the Addison’s new wing or the next generation’s Senior shirts with reminiscences. Andover’s alumni participation pales in comparison to our peer schools, and we can do something about that. Showing up is a start – but how about allowing others to do the same? If the ‘Andover experience’ (not packaged, but lived) is worthwhile, the only thing better than remembering it fondly is watching someone else go through it. Found a scholarship; finance the renovation of a dorm; give money for team dinners or trips to the MFA for students in art classes. Give money for the things you enjoyed as a student, or things you wish you had. True, donation rates from the ten youngest graduated classes are currently the highest in Andover’s history. But we must continue to make this trend commonplace, and not an anomaly. This responsibility does not rest solely with alumni. Class of 2009, when the time comes to give to the Senior Gift fund, set the precedent for future donations. We aren’t a school that lacks money (although our endowment still trails Exeter’s), but we shouldn’t be one that lacks for spirit in young alumnae. This isn’t about making millions and landing a spot as a trustee – it’s about giving back to the school and the students. And – look at it this way: once you give, it’s as though you never leave.