The week before Thanksgiving, 260 Divinity School students took time from their busy schedules to write thank-you notes to donors and supporters. The event, held Nov. 16-17, was organized by Carol Rush and Betsy Poole from annual giving and alumni relations.
As Poole noted, “This helps complete the circle of gratitude. Students see the names of people who have invested in their education, and donors receive a note from an actual student. They see that their money didn’t go into a vacuum. Something as simple as a handwritten thank-you note helps establish that person-to-person connection.”
Dean Richard Hays attended the event on both days. He told the students, “We live in a culture often characterized by entitlement and resentment. This event demonstrates that the Divinity School is committed to fostering a culture of gratitude.”
A lunch was provided for those who participated, but students said that was not the only reason they volunteered to write notes. Tomi Oredein, D’11 and current first-year Th.D. student, said, “When you get the letter in the mail telling you that you will receive financial aid, it is such a relief. The opportunity now to take time to say thank you to people who have made my education possible is a blessing. I would not be here at Duke Divinity School without them, and writing their names makes it more concrete and real.”
Poole said that students wrote over 900 thank-you notes in the two days. Most Divinity School students in all programs receive some form of financial assistance, thanks to the generous support of donors.
All photos by Drew Weseman D’12