Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A tale of two cities

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton

Boston and New York; New York and Boston. The distance separating these two metropolitan areas often feels much greater than the 200 miles of Route 95 that lie between them. When the gulf is at its widest, say any time the Yankees visit Fenway Park, the differences appear to be unbridgeable.

Given the history, anything that unites the residents of the two cities is noteworthy. For example, the reactions of alumnae/i to the college’s second annual March Matchness challenge. The campaign, which coincides with March Madness, pits the graduates of even years from 2000 and later against the graduating classes of odd years starting in 2001.

Inspired by the theme, recent graduates in both cities decided to throw a party to coincide with the event. The Young Alumnae/i Club of Boston acted first with an informal gathering on March 6 at the appropriately named sports-theme bar, Game On, which is located just beyond the third-base-side grandstand at Fenway.

“There was no formal agenda or presentation for the evening, it was simply a great opportunity to catch up and hear what’s new on campus,” said Molly Galler ’06, who organized the event with Laura Blanchard ’08, Amy Dumont ’09 and Emily Firment ’11. “The goal of the event was to encourage donations, especially from first-time donors, to Wheaton’s March Matchness Challenge in support of the Wheaton Fund.”

The gathering attracted a healthy crowd and photos from the event filled Facebook. The members of the Tri-State Wheaton Alumnae/i Club were watching and waiting with their own event scheduled for the end of the month at a Midtown spot called The Crooked Knife.

“We took a page from the New York–Boston baseball rivalry and created a promotional tagline, ‘Boston Alums started March Matchness off strong, now it’s up to New York to show them the value of a closer,’” said Kathryn Leiby ’06, who planned the event along with Christopher Paquet ’03 and Patricia Landry ’01.

Rebecca Fassio, leadership gifts officer for the Wheaton Fund, said some of the organizers in Boston and New York work as professional fundraisers for nonprofit organizations and apply their expertise to help the college. “Both groups really make a point at their events to have a ‘pitch’ for the Wheaton Fund and the importance of giving and participation,” she said.

Beantown partisans may be chagrined to learn that Wheaton’s New York City alumnae/i delivered a slightly larger crowd to the event and raised a bit more than the Boston group did.

“The Boston challenge was definitely one of our more successful campaigns,” Leiby said. “Providing a goal definitely helps.”

Hub alumnae/i also were pleased with the outcome. Said Galler: “We are thrilled to inspire such healthy competition.”

About Michael Graca

Michael Graca is the college's Assistant Vice President for Communications.