SJU lags behind our peer universities with an alumni participation rate of around 16 percent.

Elevating SJU to New Heights

Which is more important: how much donors give to a university or how many donors give to a university?

It is easy to see that the cumulative generosity of Saint Joseph’s donors has a tremendous impact on campus. Across Hawk Hill, there are bold indications of the many ways that this support advances the University’s mission.

Did you know that our alumni participation rate, the percentage of alumni who contribute financially to their alma mater, is an equally important measure of our success? The number of alumni who contribute influences many factors that affect the University’s reputation and ability to attract additional donations.

Saint Joseph’s alumni giving participation rate:

  • affects our ranking in U.S. News & World Report and in other national university-ranking systems.
  • is used by corporations and foundations to assess alumni satisfaction and can influence whether they will donate to us.
  • influences the perceived value of a Saint Joseph’s education among graduate schools and potential employers.

Unfortunately, SJU’s alumni participation rate lags behind those of our peer universities. Our overall annual participation rate ranges from 14 to 16 percent. This compares to an 18 percent participation rate for Villanova and a 44 percent percentage rate for Notre Dame. Currently, only 6 to 7 percent of Saint Joseph’s young alumni give back each year.

To support our reputation as a leading Catholic, Jesuit University, Saint Joseph’s needs a higher participation rate. We need more of our alumni to demonstrate their passion by becoming annual donors. For participation rates, the amount doesn’t matter. A $10 donor counts the same as a $1,000 donor.

If you’ve hesitated to give because you believe your gift would be too small, we invite you to think again. You can help increase our alumni participation rate and help Saint Joseph’s become more attractive to potential corporate donors and national ranking systems. You’ll also be investing in the value of a Saint Joseph’s diploma, which can rise or fall based on the rankings and how the University is perceived as a result.

Another reason for giving is the immediate impact you can have on current and future SJU students. When you make an annual gift through The Saint Joseph’s Fund, your support provides critical resources for new technology, library materials, and lab equipment. It supports internship programs, academic initiatives, and co-curricular opportunities for students. The Saint Joseph’s Fund also supplies the necessary financial aid support to assist the University in fulfilling its commitment to meeting students’ demonstrated financial need.

Compared to endowment gifts, annual gifts have an immediate and powerful impact. A $100 annual gift provides the same impact as a $2,000 gift to the endowment. In 2009-10, gifts to The Saint Joseph’s Fund totaled $4.8 million. It would take an estimated $96.5 million in endowment to generate this income. Strong annual giving works hand-in-hand with a strong endowment to provide scholarship support.

Our University is no greater than the generosity of our alumni. If you already give, thank you! If not, we encourage you to give and to encourage others to do the same. For inspiration, visit

Let’s work together to elevate Saint Joseph’s to new heights.