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Profiles in Giving

For the Common Good

The D13 Class has made the history books. This year’s graduates are not only the first to achieve 100 percent participation in the Senior Class Gift, but they also raised the school's largest senior class gift to date: $5,581.

When the Tufts University Dental Alumni Association adds its traditional contribution of $1,500 and the Dean’s Office matches student donations, the senior gift will hit a new high of $12,662.

Every member of the class—all 191—stepped up, with 86 percent contributing $25 or more (the Dean’s Inner Circle level). That participation reflects the nonstop dedication of the class’s executive board.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the class of 2013 was united by a common good. All of the money will support Tufts dental students who provide dental services to Bridge Over Troubled Waters Dental Clinic, which offers free services to runaway, homeless, and high-risk youth. Many members of the class had volunteered at the Boston clinic as students and were moved to help more.

“We all rallied around what our class gift was going to support,” says Class President Kevin Burke. “From day one, our class has been committed to community service. In our first year, we formed a student committee for community outreach; we volunteered for City Year, Habitat for Humanity, mentored each other in coursework. It was a focus continued through our third year and helped build a cohesive class.”

“Our nemesis”

Still, getting everyone to give wasn’t easy; enthusiasm runs high at the kick-off reception at Yankee Dental in January, but class officers must sustain momentum through emails and peer-to-peer solicitation, and that can be difficult.

“Our nemesis was the fact that our fourth-year schedule is chaotic and everyone has different schedules,” Burke says. “And some people are just going to put off the class gift to the last minute. On May 1, two days before Toast to Tufts, I saw we were at 73 percent and that some key people had donated. So I said: ‘We can do this!’”

And indeed, they did, doggedly tracking down remaining class members in time to announce their new record at the Senior Award Dinner on May 10.

The Total Package

Jess Kane, D74, DG76, AG78, DG79, D04P, DG06P, an M Club Executive Committee co-chair and member of the board of advisors, says he’s impressed by the class overall.

“This class is the total package. They are the first class to achieve a 100 percent pass rate on their national boards, so they’re academically superior. But they not only excel academically, they also are empathetic; they understand their social responsibility. When someone asks me what makes a great doctor or dentist, I always say the person has to excel in their knowledge and have a social conscience. This class certainly has both.”

The Senior Class Gift program started in 2002 and has gathered momentum in recent years. Last year, the Class of 2012 reached 99 percent participation.