DETROIT (Jan. 10, 2019) – On Tuesday, De La Salle Collegiate hosted a very successful beginning to its newest philanthropic group – the 1926 Society.
The 1926 Society is intended to recognize the year De La Salle was founded while challenging young alumni to show their commitment to The Collegiate with an annual gift of $19.26. Donations to the Lasallian Fund go to support scholarship assistance, technology, building needs, and faculty professional development.
This week’s inaugural event was held at the historic Detroit Athletic Club, where more than 72 percent of this year’s senior class accepted the breakfast invitation from De La Salle President John M. Knight.
“Your experience, unique as it is to you, is not that far removed from the young men who graduated from De La Salle Collegiate so many, many years ago,” Knight said. “Just as those early graduates benefited from the sacrifice and support of their families and the school’s benefactors, so, too, have you benefited from that same generous spirit. And just as those early graduates stepped up to support the school that gave them so much, it is now your turn to begin to think about giving back to a school that has given you so much.
“I hope you will take this morning’s opportunity to reflect on your blessings and to begin to think about all that De La Salle Collegiate has given to you, and what you can give in return.”
Aside from Knight’s address, the 136 seniors had the privilege of hearing two poignant messages from prominent alumni Tony Mattar ’50 and Mike Peplowski ’88.
Mattar said it’s not the amount of the gift, it’s the spirit and generosity the gift represents that counts.
“I am proud to boast that I have been a key member of this great (1950) class,” said Mattar, who graduated with such notables as Bill Fox, Don Slazinski, Bill Pulte, and J.P. McCarthy. “To this day, our surviving class members still remain connected and socially interactive, a credit to our heritage as graduates of De La Salle. The personal satisfaction I enjoy – not only from giving generously to our school, but also the time which I devoted as a member of the Board of Trustees and other committees – has enriched my life knowing that I have, in some small way, given of my talents, inspired by my love and devotion to De La Salle.”
Through steady gifts to the Lasallian Fund, young alumni can make a direct impact on their alma mater. De La Salle’s Lasallian Fund is a way of saying that a Lasallian, Catholic education made a positive difference in their lives.
When it was Peplowski’s turn to talk to the seniors, the former basketball standout shared the passage The Man in the Arena from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech.
“Guys, the Man in the Arena has absolutely nothing to do with sports; it has to do with life, which you are about to embark on,” he said. “I imagine most of you will be freshmen in college. Most of you will belong to a campus organization, maybe a fraternity, you’ll make new friends, you’ll drift apart, and you’ll try to stay in touch. But while you do this what I would really like you to remember is just a couple easy things that comes from that famous speech. Every day you guys need to wake up with a purpose. What is your purpose in your day, in your life? You’re going to describe the what, the what that you’re going to do. Once you’ve figured out what the what is, ask yourself why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why am I here doing what I’m doing talking to you? I’m here because I care, because I was asked, and I’m honored to be here. Figure out your why, guys. The why is the most important thing. The why gets you out of bed. The why makes you take the next step. The why gets the deal done, day in and day out.”
The hope is that seniors each year will be motivated to step up and begin to take their turn at giving back to their school. All seniors who contribute their $19.26 this semester will receive a custom polo shirt and membership into the 1926 Society.
For more information about the 1926 Society, please contact Major Gifts Officer Greg Esler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 586-541-6254.