Giving Day brings MU community together

Alumni and friends who connect with Manchester on Giving Day April 22 will have a chance to share their own college stories and hear those of current students, says Mike Leckrone ’92, assistant director of alumni engagement at the University.

“I think the donors, alumni and friends of Manchester really love hearing the student’s voice,” says Leckrone. “They want to hear their words, their thoughts, their ideas. The voices that they bring to Giving Day are critically important.”

Leckrone helps lead Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT), a group of 24 students who work with the Office of Advancement and help with events such as Homecoming and Commencement. Members are influencers among students, active in campus life, and enthused about sharing their Manchester experience with others.

On Giving Day, MU’s one-day annual fundraising campaign, students serve as social media ambassadors. This year they’ll also create short “selfie videos,” explains Leckrone, in which they express gratitude for donors and the impact that support has on their lives.

Giving Day is really two experiences. For alumni and friends scattered across the globe, social media provides a way to share Manchester memories, connect with college friends on platforms such as Facebook, and make online gifts. 

On the North Manchester campus, it’s a physical celebration of the philanthropy that makes a Manchester education possible. Last year that experience included a parking lot party, flash mob, dancing and a “surprise box.” One of those surprises was a marriage proposal (she said, “Yes!”) involving two MU students. 

The on-campus Giving Day activities help educate current students about the importance of donor gifts, says Leckrone. They also help create “good, positive memories” that students take with them when they graduate.

Last year’s Giving Day raised $93,525, nearly doubling the 2018 total. Alumni wherever they live can help by serving as social media ambassadors, sharing posts with friends and sharing their Manchester memories. “The more ambassadors we have, the better,” says Leckrone.

Often, there’s nothing more powerful than a personal story.

“Everybody has their own experience,” explains Lauren Hughes ’16 Mills, social media coordinator for two MU Giving Day campaigns. “People want to hear real stories from real people,” she said. “It’s a whole community coming together. It’s a day to celebrate Manchester and the history of Manchester.”

This year’s theme is Giving Gold (#GivingGold). While individual gifts are always welcome, alumni and friends may also make challenge gifts that increase the impact. For example, Leckrone says the Alumni Board will issue a $1,500 matching gift challenge for new donors. A group called Manchester Mates, people who met their spouses at MU, are pooling their resources for a $2,500 matching gift challenge to other Manchester mates. 

The bottom line, says Leckrone, is that we all care about Manchester, and tuition, room and board simply don’t cover the cost of a student’s education. “Our ability to succeed as an institution depends heavily on philanthropy,” he added. Gifts pay for everything “from baseballs to beakers in the chemistry lab. From the lights to the buildings themselves.” 

Anyone interested in serving as a social media ambassador for Giving Day 2020 or in making a challenge gift may contact Leckrone at or 260-982-5004.