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University of La Verne president Devorah Lieberman, seated, middle and Ahmed Ispahani visited Yvonne Smith's Strategic Management class to recognize its 100 percent participation rate in a class donation exercise.

University of La Verne president Devorah Lieberman, seated, middle and Ahmed Ispahani visited Yvonne Smith's Strategic Management class to recognize its 100 percent participation rate in a class donation exercise.

Giving 101

La Verne students in a Strategic Management class see first-hand the effects of unanimous giving when two very prominent donors match their contribution.

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  • December 6, 2011

Some might call it the power of suggestion. Professor of Strategic Management Yvonne Smith calls it strategic thinking.

During a recent class session in her Strategic Management senior seminar, a student mentioned that he had been told that the percentage of students who donated to the university was significant to other donors. This led to a class discussion, prompting another student to suggest that everybody in class — all 25 students — donate a dollar to the University Scholarship Fund.

The class of undergraduate seniors agreed and every student made a contribution. The idea was that the university’s donors might be inspired if they saw a high percentage of students giving to La Verne themselves. The $25 dollars raised by the Strategic Management class was modest; but another number — 100 percent participation — was significant.

“These are graduating Business students and their intent was to maximize the impact for the university,” said Smith, who teaches the Bus 496 Strategic Management class in the College of Business and Public Management. “I thought the students were strategic and clever in their thinking.”

Word of this 100 percent participation got around to Professor of Business Ahmed Ispahani, who heads up the University of La Verne employee giving campaign. It also got the attention of University President Devorah Lieberman. Wanting to take the students’ efforts a step further, Lieberman and Ispahani visited the Tuesday evening class and personally acknowledged and thanked the students for their contribution by each making a $25 matching contribution.

When Lieberman asked the class how many received some form of financial aid to attend the University of La Verne, almost every hand went up. It was a quick lesson in how stewardship really does come full circle.

Together, the class turned $1 into $75 that will not only be applied to a scholarship, but will inspire other alumni and friends to come together and multiply that sum for generations of worthy students to come.





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