Community pride and outstanding generosity were shared around the world last Tuesday as 11,516 students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends came together for One Tribe One Day (OTOD). The result was over $3.7 million raised for over 880 designations across campus in celebration of the 11th year of this giving day tradition at William & Mary.

“One Tribe One Day shows the playfulness and passion of the W&M community. We are grateful to everyone who joined in to lift up so many different programs and people across our community. The hoopla of one wild day has lasting benefits, for every part of our mission. Thanks so much to all participants,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “Plus, congratulations to the student trivia team for retaining their laurels; our deans’ team has stiff competition.”

Since OTOD’s inception, more than 63,000 donors have given a total of $27.9 million to William & Mary in support of 1,000+ designations across campus.

“Each year brings new opportunities for our community to create connections and transformations that are far-reaching and inspiring. The life-changing generosity we see on this day speaks volumes about what it means to give back and pay it forward. One Tribe One Day is the very definition of the democratization of philanthropy and engagement,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, senior vice president for university advancement.

On March 26, the William & Mary community came together for our annual giving day, One Tribe One Day.

Global celebration

Donors from all 50 states and eight countries took part in the day. Over 850 people registered to connect with fellow W&M families and friends at events in 18 cities around the world, including over 55 W&M supporters in London, Paris and Tokyo. 

On campus, nearly 100 people gathered to watch six savvy students triumph over the six W&M academic deans in the “Battle of the Brains: Students vs. Deans”  trivia competition emceed by Provost Peggy Agouris. The winning students each designated their $416 portion of the $2,500 prize to an area they care about at W&M, including the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy, women’s lacrosse, student philanthropy and engagement, and the Pi Beta Phi house improvement fund.

“I had a great time competing against the deans in the Battle of the Brains this year, and it feels great to be on the winning side two years in a row,” said Ronan Gormley ’25, an international relations and Chinese double major who serves as the Students for University Advancement philanthropy chair. “I decided to give my share of the winnings to men’s rugby to help fund our playoff run in the fall.”

The celebration continued into the afternoon, with over 500 students, faculty and staff attending the OTOD Carnival in the Sunken Garden. Attractions included a 20-person high-speed cyclone swings ride, an inflatable alligator obstacle course, a giant shark slide and a pushup and plank challenge sponsored by the Office of Military & Veteran Affairs. The winners of the challenges were both accounting majors. Conor Sokolowsky ’23 held a plank for 40 minutes, and Jonathan Bennett ’24 did 105 pushups! Carnival goers also enjoyed free Crumbl Cookies and kettle corn, exclusive OTOD swag along with the DJ, photo booth and more.

Online, over 500 posts on social media used the #OneTribeOneDay hashtag this year. Alumni from the Class of 1973 to the Class of 2026, as well as many others, completed and submitted the inaugural OTOD crossword. 

Extraordinary impact

More than 20 giving challenges throughout the day helped the university unlock over $1 million in additional funding. Five 11:1 matches inspired increased participation from students, faculty and staff. An incredible 651 students made a gift to unlock $111,111 for the Libraries Make a Difference Fund. These matches also encouraged 2,976 first-time OTOD donors and 749 Young Guarde donors to participate in the day.

Gifts of $100 and below accounted for over $400,000 of the total raised, underscoring that gifts of all sizes collectively make a significant difference. New hourly challenges unlocked $1,000 throughout the day for over a dozen areas, including the Rowing Club, the Men’s Gymnastics Excellence Fund and the Chi Omega House Renovation Fund. 

Seven units exceeded their giving goals, with the Veterans Challenge and the Washington Center Challenge leading the way, respectively reaching over 275% and 180% of their donor targets. Donors also used the university’s new stock gift option, Donate Stock, to give nearly $30,000 on OTOD.

This year’s top honors in the annual Gerdelman School & Unit Challenge, sponsored by Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76, P ’07, P ’13 and the late John Gerdelman ’75, L.H.D. ’19, P ’07, P ’13, were awarded to Arts & Sciences (most total donors), W&M Athletics (most new donors), W&M Libraries (most improved participation), the law school (most student donors), VIMS (most faculty and staff donors), the Washington Center (most creative outreach) and Student Affairs (honorable mention). Each school and unit can only win one category in the challenge.

Thank you!

“Once again, our W&M family rallied together on One Tribe One Day to share their tremendous support for our community,” said Lambert. “We are sincerely grateful to everyone who participated, and thank you for continuing the long tradition of giving back and paying forward at W&M.”