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By Andy Hirsch
NEW YORK — As Bucknell President John Bravman walked off the stage following his keynote address on Saturday night — with the song "New York, New York" filling the Metropolitan Ballroom in the Sheraton Times Square — the crowd of nearly 700 Bucknellians rose to its feet and delivered a standing ovation. They were impressed with the evening, with Bravman and with the half-a-billion-dollar WE DO Campaign.
"It was everything that I would expect from Bucknell," said Kristen Bucaria '12. "Perfectly done, great memories — it brought me right back to campus. It made me miss Bucknell so much, and at the same time made me proud to be a Bucknellian."
"It was fantastic," said Laura Durham '07. "It was a really great way to reintroduce ourselves to the Bucknell community, and I'm impressed with the breadth of the turnout. There are recent graduates here, there are alumni from the '60s; I think that says a lot about Bucknell."
The event was the latest and largest in the WE DO Tour. Aside from enjoying a night of food and fun with fellow alumni, attendees had the opportunity to engage with current faculty and students at a variety of interactive spaces; hear faculty "snap talks," 10-minute presentations on innovative research being done across a variety of disciplines; learn more about the campaign — and, through it, what Bucknell is striving to become.
"It's inspiring to see Bucknellians sharing in these events and expressing the passion they have for the University, and New York has set a new standard," Bravman said after the event. "This crowd has made it clear that through this campaign, they want to shape Bucknell in a significant way for today's students and for generations of future Bucknellians. And they will."
On Saturday, Bravman announced the campaign had reached $295 million. It was among the many highlights of the evening, which also included a video of Bucky unveiling a 10-second ad that will run on the CBS 'Super Board' in Times Square through Jan. 4, and cheers for Matt Daley '04, the New York Yankee reliever who made history when he relieved all-time-great Mariano Rivera after Rivera threw his last major league pitch.
Bravman ended the evening by asking the attendees to think about three things: "People, places and problems," Bravman said. "These three dimensions of the University define who we are, what we do and why we do it." They also help define some of the the campaign's key priorities:
- Increasing funding for scholarships and financial aid
- Strengthening current academic and residential learning
- Retaining and recruiting outstanding faculty
- Investing in new facilities
"I was inspired by the President's message of 'people, places and problems,'" Alex Goodman '07 said. "I believe in the University's initiatives and I think alumni who aren't involved need to be a part of this campaign's mission."
Before finishing his speech, Bravman added one more word for people to keep in mind: pride. "We need your pride in Bucknell to express itself to the world," he said. "We need you to volunteer, we need you to lead ... we need your pride to do, because as Bucknellians, we do."