One Day. One KU.

Jayhawk spirit shines on first day of giving


Feb. 20 may not come to mind as significant for the University of Kansas, but in reality, it is the day that started it all for Mount Oread. On that date in 1863, Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney signed a bill into law locating KU in Lawrence. The bill passed the state House of Representatives by just one vote, demonstrating the power of one person to make a difference. That one vote started a chain of events that brings us to where the university is today — a major teaching and research center with five connected campuses and international reach.

On Feb. 20, thousands of alumni and friends came together — one at a time — to support the university and share their Jayhawk pride for One Day. One KU. For our first 24-hour giving campaign, donors gave 1,898 gifts totaling $734,621. This is the largest number of gifts ever received for KU in a single day. These gifts will support more than 225 areas across all campuses and create additional opportunities for students, faculty and programs. 

“KU’s first day of giving was a staggering success thanks to our amazing Jayhawk family,” Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said. “Their support will give our departments and programs a boost and encourage students and staff to excel. Not only do their gifts ensure a greater KU, they demonstrate how great KU already is.”

Matching gifts and challenges of more than $230,000 provided an extra spark and made many donations go further. Challenges ranged from a few hundred dollars to $25,000 in matching gifts from the medical community in Wichita and a $40,000 challenge for study abroad. Many deans, boards and alumni encouraged others to follow their example and support an area of KU with personal meaning. Chancellors past and present were not about to be left out. Chancellor Douglas Girod and former chancellors Bernadette Gray-Little, Del Shankel, Gene Budig and Archie Dykes provided a successful challenge contribution of $10,000 for student scholarships when the campaign received 1,000 gifts.

“It was exhilarating to see the number of gifts go up throughout the day in real time and to read comments about how KU has impacted so many lives,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “This effort showcased the importance of being part of something bigger than all of us. We plan to make this day an annual tradition.”

Giving wasn’t the only way to participate in One Day. One KU. Alumni and friends could comment on Facebook, post a photo on Instagram or mention the day on Twitter to “unlock” gifts for KU. Thanks to 500 uses of the hashtag #OneDayOneKU on social media before noon, it unlocked $5,000 for scholarship support. 

Comments for the Facebook contest on “Why I support the university” showed the love that many hold for KU’s traditions and legacy. Some cherish that KU believed in them when they were struggling single parents; some come from a long line of alumni and have crimson and blue blood; some appreciate the exceptional education they received or are still receiving; some are proud of KU’s commitment to diversity and social justice; and others feel that Jayhawks use their experiences to make the world a better place.

Campus events were planned for students, staff and visitors, but many had to be canceled due to the icy weather conditions that day across much of Kansas. Student Endowment Board president Meredith Rivas was able to take part in a KU Medical Center event where students and others could grab a donut while they learned about the day; spin a wheel to win a T-shirt and other items; and write thank-you notes to donors. 

“Student Endowment Board was amped for One Day. One KU., and we are still super excited about it,” Rivas said. “It was one day where we could share how much we love KU and really join together with all other Jayhawks.”

Rivas is a sophomore majoring in finance and a fourth-generation Jayhawk, so the Rock Chalk way has been instilled in her from a young age. She became interested in joining the board when she learned it is all about upholding KU’s legacy and educating students about the importance of donor support. A scholarship recipient herself, Rivas knows first hand about the power of philanthropy.

“I wouldn’t be able to be here and do all the things I do every day without someone supporting me,” Rivas said. “Being able to turn around and educate people about the importance of giving has been great.” 

One Day. One KU. wouldn’t have been a success without all the donors and volunteers who raised their hands and joined in, either for a few minutes or for all 24 hours of the campaign. We are grateful for each of you and inspired by what Jayhawks can do, one at a time, together. 

VALERIE GIELER

ON CAMPUS: Student Endowment Board events spread the word about One Day. One KU. with treats, games, prizes and writing notes to donors.