Making Waves: Day of the Dons Unites Generations Through Generosity

by Stephani Hoye, Office of Development Communications

On March 21, 2024, students, friends, and alumni joyfully convened for Day of the Dons, USF’s 24-hour day of fundraising dedicated to celebrating the boundless generosity and unity of the community. This year's theme, "Ripple Effect: One Gift, Many Waves," encapsulated the profound connection and transformative impact that philanthropy can have on the university’s community.

“Day of the Dons is one of the most inspiring days of the year to me because we see our entire community come together in support of an institution that is so personally meaningful to each of us,” said Chantel Smith, associate vice president, annual giving & operations.

“Whether it's an alumna attending a regional event to reconnect with classmates they haven't seen in a while or a student learning about the impact of donor support on their campus experience — the day has something for everyone. It brings us all together.”

Celebrating the success of this year's campaign, the USF community not only met but surpassed this year’s goal of 2,024 donors, reaching an impressive 2,220 donors in 24 hours and raising over $625,800.

“Day of the Dons gifts provide a much needed economic lift and a message of confidence and support,” said Eileen K. Fry Bowers, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Day of the Dons reverberated beyond the San Francisco campus. USF’s global presence was felt as alumni and donors from the countries of Singapore, Latvia, Spain, Canada, and more joined in on the festivities, emphasizing the importance of staying connected and supporting the future generations of Dons.

Lauren Ford ’06 joined Day of the Dons through a regional pop-up event in New York. Ford said, “It's always a great time when two or more East Coast Dons are in the same room. The energy is always warm and familiar. I get the opportunity to connect, catch up, and reminisce on some of the best years of my life.”

The celebration, stretching from sunrise to sunset, is a testament to the powerful waves of change created when Dons unite in support of their alma mater.

Students gathered during the sunny afternoon to join in on the Day of the Dons festivities being held at Welch Field. Green and yellow dominated the atmosphere as students lined up to enter into the petting zoo, grab boba, paint the mural, make bubbles and play games.

USF student Michaela Nangca ’25 said, “[Being a Don] it’s about having pride in where you came from. It was cool to see different people on campus coming together and it was nice to know people still love to come back after they’ve graduated.”

Highlights from Day of the Dons:

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

  • Athletics
  • Cura Personalis: Enhancing the Student Experience
  • Scholarships

Class year with the greatest participation: 2018

Total number of participating class years: 72

State outside of California with the biggest participation: Hawaiʻi

First-time donors: 571

Petting zoo animals who received the most pets: Rosie the alpaca


There's still time to join in on Day of the Dons! Make a difference by giving a gift and amplifying the impact of this special day.