A conversation with…Janet Lindholm Lebovitz ’72

-Janet Lindholm Lebovitz ’72 has been involved with Wheaton since her graduation. Prior to becoming a trustee, she held volunteer positions for the college that included serving as a class fund agent, reunion gift chair, an alumnae/i board member and a member of the President’s Commission. “I understand what is happening on campus and also the challenges faced by the college,” she says. Her ongoing relationship with her alma mater coupled with her extensive fundraising experience and her strategic and financial skills—she was vice president of Citicorp in the 1980s—make her a valued member of the board. A member of the Campaign Steering Committee, she talks about the importance of alumnae/i engagement, the success of the campaign and the value of a Wheaton education.

What message do you want to convey to your fellow alumnae/i about the importance of giving back to Wheaton?

Wheaton played a significant role in our transition to adulthood, and helped prepare us to lead productive and satisfying lives. The college’s capacity for offering this same transformative experience for current and future Wheaton students will be enhanced through its continued financial health, which we, as alumnae/i, must help sustain.

How important is alumnae/i participation in the campaign through annual giving?

Gifts to the Wheaton Fund help the college balance its budget. Wheaton Fund participation also reflects alumnae/i commitment to the school, and it is seen as a benchmark of engagement. The ability to demonstrate alumnae/i engagement through Wheaton Fund participation is helpful when applying for grant money. Foundations are much more likely to endow schools that are highly supported by alumnae/i.

What is your opinion on the success of the campaign thus far, and what are some important goals?

The most obvious example of success is the glorious Mars Center for Science and Technology, the flagship of the campaign. Raising funds for the artificial turf field will also be an important accomplishment. However, it is critical that the campaign meet its goal of $120 million by 2014 so that other important objectives can be met. Perhaps the most critical pieces that still remain are meeting the Wheaton Fund goal of $34.4 million and the endowed scholarship goal of $44.2 million.

How did your experience as an undergraduate at Wheaton shape you?

It gave me confidence in myself and in my ability to meet challenges. It taught me that hard work brings rewards. It exposed me to subject matter that I had never before considered, and expanded my areas of interest and expertise. And it brought me lifelong friends.

Photo by Nicki Pardo