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Bridge Builders give back to university


By Mary Lou Hazal

Commerce – More than 200 A&M-Commerce employees attended the Bridge Builders luncheon on May 6 to mark their financial giving to the university.

Other regional universities of similar size also have fund-raising efforts directed to their employees, according to Alicia Wittkopf, annual fund coordinator at A&M-Commerce.

"I get phone calls from other universities who want to know about our annual campaign," Wittkopf said. "They want to know what we do to make it so successful."

Since 2004 and the initiation of Bridge Builders, the program has grown and participation climbed from 12 percent to 55 percent at the end of last fiscal year. Fifty-five percent is expected again at the end of this fiscal year on Aug. 31. Last year, employees raised $65,637 for the university.

One of the employees who gives to Bridge Builders is Chief of University Police Donna Spinato. "Texas A&M University-Commerce has allowed my husband, Joe, and I the opportunity to continue our education," Spinato said.

"This education allowed our dreams to become realities. We chose to contribute to Bridge Builders, in order to give something back to a university that gave us so much. Giving back, even in a small way truly does make a difference," she said.

"We believe in the 'pay it forward' method," Spinato continued. "Our hope is that these contributions may create a path, which will allow other individuals to make their dreams a reality. We challenge everyone to take the plunge and become part of the great tradition of giving," she said.

Offices and departments honored at the luncheon for having 100 percent giving of its employees include President's Office, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Vice President for Academic Access and Success, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Also Vice President for Business Administration, Human Resources, Office of Alumni Relations, Instructional Technology and Distance Education, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Department of Residential Living and Learning, and Sam Rayburn Student Center staff.