Alumna appreciates power of recurring gifts to Marietta Fund

sarah-wilkerson

With a full-time job, husband and young daughter all pulling her in different directions, Sarah Schad Wilkerson ’02 has grown to love her frenzied schedule.

The chaos actually reminds her of her time as undergraduate at Marietta College, where she rowed and majored in Advertising and Public Relations.

“My hectic schedule at Marietta seems like a walk in the park compared to my schedule now as a working mom,” says Wilkerson, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Hailey. “Having my daughter, Hailey, has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and has certainly made me reflect on areas of my life which have made the biggest difference, Marietta being one of them.”

Sarah is now doing her part to provide future Pioneers with a chance to enjoy everything Marietta College has to offer. Sarah makes a monthly financial contribution to the College for The Marietta Fund, which is an annual fundraising effort by the College.

The Marietta Fund resources are directed to areas of greatest need at the College and this flexibility maximizes their impact upon those areas that require particular attention. The College exceeded its $1.7 million goal during the 2012-13 year by a few thousand dollars.

Over the past eight years, The Marietta Fund has generated more than $11 million for the College’s operating budget. Scholarships and financial aid have benefitted from this annual effort, which is very important to Sarah.

“I want to give to The Marietta Fund because I want to help other students have similar or better experiences than I had at Marietta,” she says. “Giving monthly, seemed to make more sense for me than just donating one lump sum. Making a small monthly payment, which I barely notice, collectively provides an annual amount that can make a greater impact.”

Sarah admits that without the financial support she received from Marietta she would likely have attended another college or university.

“I still remember the day I received the letter from Marietta indicating the financial aid I was going to receive for the next year. It meant I would be able to go to Marietta and that was very exciting,” says the four-year letterwinner for women’s rowing. “Without the financial aid, which was given to me from Marietta College in 1998, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Marietta and my life may be very different now. Because of individuals before me who donated to The Marietta Fund, I was able to attend my school of choice. Knowing my small contributions can potentially help someone else enjoy the same experiences I did, is a good feeling.”

Brandee Norris, Director of The Marietta Fund, says many of Marietta’s current students face the same obstacles that once were confronting Sarah.

“Just like Sarah, many of our current students would not be at Marietta today if it were not for the generosity of our alumni and friends. I am always impressed by the generosity of those who pay it forward to today's students by supporting The Marietta Fund,” Norris says. “During this past year we were pleased to start offering a recurring giving program for donors like Sarah, who wish to see their modest gift make a significant impact at the end of the year. We hope even more donors will join Sarah in supporting the College on a monthly basis.”

Wilkerson says she can’t imagine what her life would be like without spending four years at Marietta.

“I imagine my experience at Marietta is similar to most students there. Marietta has a way of encouraging students to live college life to its fullest, by encouraging participation in as many groups and organizations as possible,” she says. “While I was at Marietta, I joined the rowing team my freshman year as a novice and at the same time joined Sigma Kappa sorority. Although it was certainly a challenge to manage my schedule by participating in both athletics as well as Greek Life, I felt Marietta provided a perfect platform to gain the most from my college experience. Both activities have resulted in friendships that are still near and dear to my heart today.”

Shortly after graduation, Wilkerson moved to California to work for the rowing athletic gear company, JL Design. She now sells Autodesk design software to architects, engineers and general contractors. She realized soon after moving to the west coast how important The Long Blue Line was to her early adjustment away from home.

“Living in California has opened my eyes to what a special community Marietta is now and will always be. When I first moved to California, I knew six people and all happened to be Marietta College graduates,” she says. “Within our little California/MC group we didn’t necessarily spend a lot of time together in college, but because of our common background we became close and will always have that connection.”

Sarah is The Marietta Fund. You can join Sarah by making your recurring gift to The Marietta Fund please visit www.marietta.edu/Give.

TOM PERRY