Day of the Dons 2023 Triumphs over Rain, Wind, and Power Outages

by Eva Reyes, Office of Development Communications

On March 21, 2023, University of San Francisco alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and supporters came out in record numbers against rain, 35 mph gusts of wind, power outages, and fallen trees for the ninth-annual Day of the Dons. The fast-paced event celebrated the frenetic energy of a 24-hour giving opportunity and put the “fun” into fundraiser.

This year’s goal was to reach 2,023 donors, and if we were successful, Jack Boland, USF Board Chairman, and Mary McAboy Del Santo, USF Vice Chair, agreed to donate $35,000. By midnight, the initial goal was surpassed and the stretch goal of 2,123 donors was also fulfilled, which led to unlocking over $175,000 in total challenge gifts.

USF alums celebrating Day of the Dons
Kibibi Shaw '13 hosted USF's first regional
Day of the Dons pop up in Atlanta, GA.

Though rain was in the forecast, nothing dampened the spirit of Day of the Dons. Dons pride was felt around the country and the globe with regional events for USF communities in Hawai’i, Atlanta, LA, the East Bay, and Peninsula Silicon Valley gathering to support the university and its students.

With participation from 64 graduating classes, over 2,364 donors contributed over $688,578 in gifts, making an immediate impact on current and future generations of Dons that lasts a lifetime.

Fr. Fitzgibbons plays a round of mini golf on a cable car trolley course.
Fr. Fitzgibbons plays a round of mini golf
on a cable car trolley course.

“This year's Day of the Dons was a truly inspiring experience. The day brought nearly hurricane-force winds, flooding, and widespread power outages, but the community's steadfast dedication to supporting the USF mission shined so bright. With expanded participation in regional and campus events, new pop-up donor challenges, and volunteers from alumni and parents to student-athletes spreading the message about Day of the Dons far and wide. It was a day I am so grateful to be a part of, and will not forget,” said Chantel Smith, associate vice president, annual giving and operations.

Student has USF colors painted on their forehead by face-painting artist.
Student has USF colors painted
on their forehead by face-painting artist.

The USF campus was filled with electrifying, community-building activities that included face-painting, a photo booth, and games that students could enjoy and learn about how they are directly impacted by the generosity of USF donors. These activities also encouraged those in attendance to consider making a gift of any dollar amount to the area of campus that means the most to them.

“Day of Dons is an event that plays a part in students’ mental health as we reach the end of the semester,” said Victoria Pearce ’25. “Students get this unique opportunity to reflect on what makes this community home to us and gives us a chance to have some fun while we do.”

Day of the Dons by the Numbers (as of March 23, 2023)

Top 3 areas of campus with the greatest number of gifts:

  • USF Athletics
  • The USF Fund
  • College of Arts and Sciences

Class year with the greatest participation: 2004 and 2017

Total number of participating class years: 64

State outside of California with the biggest participation: Hawaii

First-time donors: 679

It’s not too late to participate. Give a gift and make the impact of this day even bigger!