November 17, 2015, BY Christina Masciere Wallace

Alumni talking at WE DO Northern New Jersey

With a nod to current world events, Professor Elizabeth Durden, sociology & anthropology, pointed out the enduring relevance of a Bucknell education during her snap talk at the Northern New Jersey WE DO event on Nov. 14.

"These students will take with them valuable and transferable skills, but I would argue that more importantly, they're becoming informed and thoughtful citizens of the world, and that's what we need right now," said Durden, who prefaced her presentation on immigration with a mention of the recent terror attacks in Paris.

Two hundred guests gathered at the Hyatt Morristown for the event, which showcased the academic accomplishments of students and faculty and celebrated the University's accomplishments and plans for the future.

Durden was followed by Professor Michael Johnson-Cramer, director of the School of Management, who discussed how the generosity of individual donors shaped the Bucknell experience of Anna Astakhishvili '15, an accomplished Global Management major from the Republic of Georgia, in ways the University's founders could not have imagined.

"This is the story of the Bucknell I hope we're all building," Johnson-Cramer said. "It is a Bucknell that is both professional and liberal that honors its past and builds an amazing future. It is a community that is changing the world one student at a time."

President John Bravman updated guests on the impact of the campaign, which has raised $365 million toward its goal of half-a-billion dollars. "Our alumni, parents and friends here have been tremendously supportive," he said. "Their commitment to Bucknell is strengthening the educational experience for students every day, and we are grateful to have an extremely loyal community here in Northern New Jersey."

The evening's program finished with a powerful story from Neale Trangucci '79, P'09, '13, chairman of the Northern New Jersey Campaign Cabinet. The former student-athlete explained that just days before his arrival on campus as a first-year, his mother had passed away. Overwhelmed by grief, he lost his basketball scholarship to the University — but Athletics Director Bob Latour made sure that as long as the young man kept up his grades, he would stay at Bucknell.

"What a gift to a panicked 18-year-old," Trangucci recalled. "It was the most important lesson in my life up to that point. What Coach Latour did was wonderful, but not extraordinary for Bucknell. This is how family treats its own." 

Guests later enjoyed a strolling supper and interactive academic areas that highlighted different campaign initiatives. A replica of the Campus Theatre marquee added a bit of Lewisburg charm.

"I think the most exciting thing was the progress toward the goal of half a billion," said Ellen Hariu Sleeter '70. "I was amazed by that."  

The evening was "a reaffirmation of how special and wonderful this place is," added Cali Williams Yost '87.

Launched publicly in October 2012, WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell University aims to create or strengthen six academic and residential learning initiatives designed to transform Bucknell's education experience.

The campaign will also increase funding for scholarships and financial aid, for recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, and for investments in new facilities.