“The size of your gift doesn’t matter, but making that gift—philanthropy—that’s what counts,” says alumnus Jay Fisher (CHE ’63). “My first gift to IIT was $20. But I wanted to give. I wanted to do what I could because universities need alumni support to succeed.” Fisher has been a consistent and loyal supporter since that first modest gift in 1985.
Fisher recently made a $50,000 challenge gift designed to inspire a habit of philanthropy among recent graduates and young alumni. Through the 2 for 200 Challenge, Fisher will match, 2 to 1 for 12 months, the first 200 alumni gifts from the Classes of 2004 or later made through the Loyal Hawks monthly giving program.
His message to young alumni is clear—“An IIT education will take you far, and that education was made possible by the philanthropy of others before you. So consider making the same opportunity for education available to future generations of students with your gift.”
Fisher is grateful for his IIT education. “I had a good undergraduate experience at IIT, and I was well prepared for graduate school. I went on to have a successful 31-year career at BP Amoco because of the education I received.” For almost 20 years after he graduated, Fisher climbed the ranks in corporate America but had little contact with IIT. But a series of coincidences in the early 1980s reconnected him to the university. “My supervisor was an IIT alumnus, and he encouraged me to get involved again and to get other IIT alumni at the company involved, too.”
Over the years, Fisher became more invested in the university’s future. He took on a number of different roles in the Alumni Association including chair and provided strategic input to the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center. “As you get more involved with something and more interested, you put forth more energy because you want to see it succeed. As a grateful alum, I want IIT to succeed.”
Even modest gifts are important. If each one of IIT’s 73,000+ alumni worldwide made just a $25 gift, that would add up to $1.8 million! "Think about the impact that would have on the university,” he says.