I’ll begin this note with a bit of good news. Thanks to the support of alumni and friends, and the hard work of the Alumni Association and volunteers, we set a new record for funds raised at our Alumni Auction Gala. At this time, it’s expected we will reach $650,000 net, and it’s quite moving to think of the many students who will benefit as a result.
Perhaps what’s even more inspiring, is that we also set a record in the “paddle up” for scholarships. These are pledges made by donors who raise their paddle to the auctioneer’s calls for cash donations. These gifts are particularly generous, because they’re without reciprocation (other than a tax deduction). In one night, donors raised their paddles pledging $167,000 in scholarships!
Now, while these gifts can be thought of as without reciprocation (in contrast to bids on items) we can also take a different view— that of making a difference in the quality of people’s lives.
One of the most popular TED Talks with more than 14 million views is one by an expert in leadership psychology, Tony Robbins. In it, he explores the “invisible forces” that motivate our actions—why we do what we do. He observes that we don’t work in our self-interest all of the time and examines what drives us.
Robbins poses the question, “what is it that shapes us?” And he challenges people to explore their personal world view and values today in order to contribute more in the future.
In exploring human needs essential to fulfillment, Robbins narrows in on significance, connection and the need to give. He explains how emotion is a great force that shapes our ability to contribute. He calls it “the art of fulfillment.” That’s how I see the act of giving to scholarships at Boise State—the art of fulfillment in practice when we decide to give—to shape someone’s destiny with the gift of scholarship.
At Boise State, we’re shaping destiny every day through scholarships. Our campaign “Extraordinary Times. Extraordinary Opportunities” has raised more than $15.8 million of our $25 million goal—evidence of many caring people practicing the art of fulfillment in support of Boise State.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.