44 / ’southern
Alumni Give First challenge a huge success
You’ve probably heard that one of Birmingham-Southern’s biggest goals this year is to significantly increase the college’s
alumni giving percentage.
Last year, BSC’s overall alumni giving percentage totaled 34 percent, which was a huge increase over the last few
years’ total of 28 percent. This year, we want to outdo that and aim to hit 50% by the time the fiscal year ends May 31.
Increasing the figure shows the world that Birmingham-Southern alumni support their alma mater, and it makes the
college eligible for large corporate and foundation grants.
To get the ball rolling, BSC National Alumni Association President Terry Smiley ’94 hosted a rally at Alagasco’s
downtown Birmingham headquarters Nov. 12 to encourage some of BSC’s most active local alumni to step up. More
than 65 graduates gathered to hear a rousing message from Gen. Charles C. Krulak about the importance of alumni
support; he also challenged them to give to the college and encouraged their peers to do so as well. To amp up the
efforts, a group of generous alumni also offered to donate $100,000 if 2,500 alumni gave to the college before Dec. 31.
The energy from this gathering generated a level of activity among ’Southern alums that had never been seen before.
Almost 200 volunteers representing 51 classes contacted the Office of Institutional Advancement and offered to share the
challenge with their peers. The result was a record-breaking drive that brought in a total of 2,509 alumni gifts during the
challenge period. That brought the alumni giving percentage to 28 percent—the highest-ever level at the midpoint of the
fiscal year. And, of course, the college landed the $100,000 challenge gift, bringing the Annual Fund total to $1,037,654
towards its $2 million goal for the fiscal year.
There’s still more time, as total annual alumni giving percentage isn’t tallied until May 31. Those who want to
volunteer to share the word should contact Susan Ellard ’88 at
A gift of opportunity
Ruby Syx Ansley ’38 passed away in January 2012 and left Birmingham-
Southern and the greater Birmingham community a tremendous gift.
After attending BSC for a year, Ansley finished her undergraduate degree at
the University of Alabama, then went on to establish the UA School of Interior
Design. In 1963, she founded Ruby Ansley Interiors Inc. in Mountain Brook
Village. Although she only spent a year on campus, her love for BSC lasted a
lifetime, and she always remained connected to the college, donating her design
services to the President’s House and sorority townhouses on campus. In honor
of that dedication, Birmingham-Southern awarded her an Honorary Doctor of
Laws degree in 2003.
Following her death, Ansley’s estate gave a $9.3 million bequest to the Community Foundation of
Greater Birmingham—the largest gift the Community Foundation has ever received. In an act of steadfast
support for Birmingham-Southern, Ansley designated $3 million of the $9.3 million to a fund specifically
for BSC. The gift will reside with the Community Foundation, and BSC will receive an annual distribution
primarily supporting the Ruby S. and John P. Ansley Scholarship Fund, with the remainder to be used for
faculty development. Birmingham-Southern expects to receive approximately $25,000 this year. That
yearly sum will grow as the fund continues to mature—and Ansley’s gift will support BSC for many, many
years to come. Birmingham-Southern is very thankful for the life and work of Ruby Ansley and for her