Class of 2003 gives more than $24,000 for grotto

The class of 2003 presented the University with a gift of $24,380 on Thursday at the second organizational congress of the semester. Fr. Donald J. Harrington, who was scheduled to attend, was absent.

Megan Kates, a 2003 graduate of St. John’s College, presented the 2003 senior class gift. The class raised a record $24,380, which will be used to construct a grotto. The purpose of the grotto is to provide students with a place for quiet thought and prayer in a tranquil setting.

Dr. Susan Ebbs, Senior Vice President of Student Life, apologized for Harrington’s absence from the meeting. According to Ebbs, Harrington was unable to attend due to prior engagements.

"We had hoped Father would be here today and he is very sorry that he is not able to be here today," Ebbs said.

"After countless hours at meetings all day, he then spends evenings meeting with donors," said Ebbs. "He’s meeting with donors in order to decrease the cost of an education at St. John’s to you," she continued. "It would be harder without his continuous efforts."

The gift represented 100 percent participation on behalf of the graduating class of 2003. According to a news release sent out by the University, this turnout enabled the University to acknowledge the full class of graduating seniors as alumni donors. This boosted the overall undergraduate alumni donor participation count, contributing to the University’s Capital Campaign. The campaign has already raised more than $140 million. In regards to the response to the senior gift campaign, Mary Pelkowski, Director of Campus Activities, said, "This is an amazing accomplishment, something beyond what the students thought they could pull off themselves."