Leading by Example
Russell Riopelle '92 had a remarkable year as class president and co-chair of the Class of 1992 Reunion Committee. Along with co-chairs Kathy Ullrich, Trish Halamandaris, and Todd Laurence, the committee secured gifts from 44% of the class—an alumni record. Russell shares the secrets to their success.
How did the Class of 1992 achieve a 44% giving rate?
The idea of breaking a record was a big motivating factor. B-school students are competitive and you want to give your committee something to compete for. We aimed for participation.
We recognized that times are tough, and we can't pretend to know what everyone's personal situation is like. But it's a matter of getting people ingratiated in the culture and tradition of giving. Giving back is a natural and honorable thing to do. And our class has some generous donors who can always be counted on to get the ball rolling for our reunion efforts.
Why do you give?
UCLA gave me an extraordinary second chance. I came back from undergrad, matured, and got more serious. They took a chance on me. I want them to know that I appreciate that and will continue to appreciate that.
I think many classmates don't realize how significantly UCLA's finances have changed from when we were there and how important it is that we support the school. Having gone to a private institution as an undergrad and seeing the effect of the monetary support that they get from their alumni, I believe it's important to give back to one's graduate school as well—particularly to a public institution like UCLA that has lost most of its funding from the state.
Your wife, Olivia, is in her 20th reunion this year and the Class of 1993 held the previous participation record. Are you nervous that the 44% participation record may be eclipsed?
Knowing the class of 1993, I think our record could be broken in the next twelve months—and I hope it is. I hope they do it, and I hope the class after them beats that record. By the time our 25th rolls around, I hope we're talking about a 55% level that our class has to reach to reclaim the record. That was one of the key selling points in getting people to participate: every gift counts and will raise the bar for all of the reunions that follow—resulting in significantly more dollars for UCLA in the future.
Why should UCLA Anderson alumni get involved with their reunions?
I think it's much more rewarding than people would expect. It was a wonderful way to reconnect on a regular and personal basis-with classmates that I knew well and classmates that I knew of. People's lives get busy after B-school. Using a reunion committee as an opportunity to reconnect is special.
To volunteer on your reunion committee, please email email@example.com
Reunion Stats 2011-2012
Total raised: $1,751,407 from six reunion classes
Total donors: 676.
Largest class gift: 1986 with $551,886
Best participation rate: Class of 2006 with 26.6%
Of note: First alumni weekend and reunions celebration in one off campus site.
Total raised: $2,653,711 from seven reunion classes
Total donors: 775
Largest class gift: 1987 with $690,533
Best participation rate: Class of 1992 with 44%
Of note: First ever 35 year reunion.
UCLA Anderson is fortunate to have a dedicated corps of volunteers working to raise awareness of the vital need for the Reunion Class Gift. The following alumni served on committees supporting their class years:
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