Mike Schoenfeld graduated from Middlebury in 1973 and has worked for the College in many capacities over the years, including working extensively with alumni. As this month’s guest blogger, he offers a singular perspective on Middlebury’s impact on our lives.
—Shirley M. Collado
When I worked in the Admissions Office, I once encountered a family, in the Emma Willard parking lot, carrying a copy of the U.S. News and World Report with the latest rankings of the nation’s best colleges. I introduced myself and commented on the magazine they were holding, and they let me know that they were here to visit Middlebury because we ranked high on the list.
Maybe you looked at this list when you applied as well? Of course, the rankings are as much about you before you arrived here as they are about anything else—how many of you applied, how many of you were accepted, how many of you came, and what you scored on the SATs. Middlebury is now fourth on that list, in large part because of you.
A couple of weeks ago, U.S. News and World Report came out with a different list: the nation’s “Top 10 Most Loved Schools.” And there we were again—in fourth place. I must admit that I like this ranking, even though it is overly simplistic and contrived to help sell magazines. I like it because it is based on the percentage of Middlebury alumni who contribute to the College each year, and I work with all the staff and alumni volunteers who ask alumni for gifts. The fact that 60 percent of alumni make gifts annually is actually a pretty big deal—it is a good measure of how much our alumni appreciate the institution. Check out whom we are competing against for this honor.
Once again, this ranking is in large part about you. All of you seniors who contribute to the senior class gift will factor into our alumni participation rate this year because you will be alumni when the counting stops on June 30. Over the last several years, a greater percentage of Middlebury’s graduating class has contributed to the College than just about any other alumni class. This, too, ranks as a pretty big deal in my business.
But what really matters is how you rank Middlebury in your life. What does it mean to you now, and what will you do about it in the future? Over my 34 years of living and working at Middlebury, I have come to believe that we are part of something bigger than ourselves here. For everything we give to this place, we get more back in return. For me, that is a big deal, and I rank that pretty high.
—Mike Schoenfeld ’73
VP for College Advancement