‚ÄčLynn University: Proactive donors do more than give

February 2018

Donating money is unquestionably the most effective method to make an impact on campus. But, when donors pair monetary gifts with the gift of their encouragement, knowledge and connections, the results can be richly rewarding for the university and for the do-more donors themselves.


Meet three pairs of do-more donors, who say they receive much more than they give.

Ana Maria & Brian Siliquini ’15 & ’94

He’s Lynn’s assistant chief for campus safety; she’s a multilingual academic coach in the Institute for Achievement and Learning. 

Donors to: Remembrance Plaza, Christine E. Lynn University Center, Perper Residence Hall

How they do more: Cheer on Fighting Knights teams, attend Café de Cave performances and assist any student in need. 

She said: “Especially the international students, who are alone here, they become like my children. If one of my students with a learning disability calls me at 11 o’clock at night struggling to write a paper due the next day, I will get out my iPad and talk them through it until midnight, if that’s what they need.” 

He said: “I don’t show up for campus events in uniform. I come as a patron so I can interact with the kids as a regular person, not as a safety officer, to show them I care about them as people. Everything we do for the university is for the month of May, when those kids walk across the stage to graduate. It’s all for the students.” 

Their reward? “We give because we love,” she said. “We don’t give because we want to get anything back in return. We give back because we get so much from the school and feel so privileged to be here. We feel valued and appreciated here. That’s enough for us.” 

Marilyn & Mark Swillinger

Marilyn and Mark SwillingerMarilyn and Mark Swillinger

He’s an immigration attorney; she’s immediate past president of the Friends of the Conservatory of Music board. 

Donors to: Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center (Jan McArt’s office); Mohammed Indimi International Business Center (the Swillinger Study Room); Conservatory of Music (director’s office and conductor’s podium)

How they do more: Together, they hold season tickets to the Philharmonia and attend Live at Lynn. He has been a member of the Business Advisory Board and offers pro bono legal advice to international students. She is co-chair of the Gingerbread Concert.  

She said: “We’re having a real love affair with Lynn. We take great joy in the conservatory students, encouraging them and financially supporting them to make sure they fulfill their dreams as artists.” 

He said: “I’m happy to offer consulting services to students with legal issues, such as a senior concerned about converting a student visa to a professional visa with the object of applying for a green card.” 

Their reward? “It fuels our energy and keeps us connected when we give back to Lynn,” she said. “There’s a great deal of fulfillment for me in providing advice to the students, faculty and administration,” he said. “We’ve developed a close relationship with Lynn, and it’s very rewarding for me personally.” 

Emily Danson & Jay Clott

Emily Danson and Jay Clott with conservatory studentEmily Danson and Jay Clott with conservatory student

She’s a passionate patron of the Conservatory of Music; he is her joyful escort to classical music performances on campus. 

Donors to: Annual fund, Live at Lynn, Conservatory of Music

How they do more: While they’re known for extending TLC to music students—sharing lunch and rides to performances off campus—it is their role as audience members that has the most impact. “We go to everything,” she said. They hold the Dean’s Club Pass for the Philharmonia, but attend even small recitals, showing no favoritism—if it’s a harp solo or a bassoon duet, it’s as important to them as the full orchestra. She has posted fliers for a violin student’s recital and they have welcomed conservatory graduates to stay in their home when they’re visiting Lynn. 

She said: “So many of them come from other countries, and they have no family here, so we like to take them under our wing. I’ve gotten very friendly with quite a few students over the years. I like to mother them a little bit.” 

He said: “We go to as many student recitals as we can. It bothers us if there are only a few people in the audience.” 

Their reward? “When we know the musicians personally, we’re not just sitting there filling theater seats,” she said. “We’re listening to people we care about play music we care about. It’s a beautiful experience.” 

What type of donor are you?

In Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World, author Leslie Crutchfield suggests donors who want to become more active participants in their favorite causes should focus on advocacy, leadership, networking and engagement (call it “having fun” if you prefer).  

Are you an advocacy donor?

New Jersey parent Doug Labrecque promotes Lynn to prospective students by hosting admission receptions.

Are you a leadership donor?

Ronald Harrar ’00 owns an upscale pastry shop in Manhattan and an art gallery in Chelsea, but makes time to serve on the President’s Alumni Advisory Council. 

Are you a networking donor? 

If your LinkedIn account reads like a who’s who, or you would like to give work experience to Lynn students, you can offer internships or alumni shadowing through Career Connections. 

Are you an engaged donor? 

Anne Marie Van Casteren ’14, ’16, not only donates, but also performs in Celebration of the Arts, attends Fighting Knights games, plus promotes Lynn events on social media (and shows up for them). 

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