TEMPLE TERRACE — Ask most any Florida College graduate and likely they’ll say they received a top-notch education at the coeducational Christian-based institution nestled near the banks of the Hillsborough River.
They’ll also likely tell you they remained loyal to the school in both service and in giving.
Turns out, this is more common than you know.
In a three-year span between 2011 and 2013, 64.7 percent of Florida College alumni monetarily gave back to the school.
In so doing, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida College first among the nation’s colleges and universities whose alumni financially contribute to their alma maters.
The top four in ranking order below Florida College were Princeton University with 64.7 percent, Thomas Aquinas College at 60. 7 percent, Williams College with 58.1 percent, and Davidson College with a 55.4 alumni giving percentage rate.
The U.S. News’ findings, published on Dec. 30, are a result of the magazine’s survey in which 1,146 schools reported their data.
Florida College’s participation in the survey was spurred by Dr. H.E. “Buddy” Payne, the school’s president, who after reading an article about America’s most loved institutions of higher learning scripted a letter to alumni that read similar to this: “If you’re feeling the love, we’d like you to be a donor.”
“I am honored to serve as president of an institution whose alumni feel so strongly about their alma mater that they would provide such significant support in this and many other ways,” Payne said.
Adam Olson, director of Florida College’s alumni relations, shared similar thoughts.
“We are humbled by the support of our four-year graduates in reaching this milestone,” he said. “More broadly, we are encouraged daily through the support of thousands of our two-year graduates and friends who have adopted us as their alma mater.”
Class of 2014 graduate Courtney Bruns wasn’t at all surprised when she read that her alma mater came out on top in the survey.
“Florida College gave me a biblical and life-long foundation, and I think most all the students feel the same way as I do,” said Bruns, who already is among the alumni donors as well as an active volunteer on behalf of the school.
The average age of Florida College alumni donors is 32, according to Jared Barr, the school’s chief marketing and information officer.
“I think the college means a lot to them because it is faith-based and because of the relationships they establish being that the majority of students live on campus,” Barr said. “We have alumni who are very passionate about what we do here.”
Barr also noted there are more than 20 Florida College alumni chapters throughout the country.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]