Pitt Holds Second Annual "Thank A Giver (TAG) Day"

TAG Day 2017

If the University of Pittsburgh relied upon only tuition and fees to cover the cost of a student’s education, the school year would end in early November. Tuition and fees cover less than a third of the total cost of a student’s education. The rest is covered by governmental allocations, foundations, and individual donors. November 8th marks the point in the 2017-18 academic year when tuition stops paying for a student’s education and support from other sources, including individual donors, takes over.

To mark the day and acknowledge the importance of voluntary philanthropy, Pitt is holding its second annual TAG Day. TAG stands for “Thank A Giver,” and 350 literal tags will be posted around the campus for students to see.

“TAG Day is an awesome opportunity to raise awareness of philanthropy with our students,” said Austin Crull, Director of Young Alumni and Student Programs, University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association. “I think our students are very proud of this university and thankful to its donors.”

Students are asked to take selfies in front of the tags and post them to social media. Last year more than 57,000 social media users saw at least one of the more than 525 posts.  

“Our donors deserve to see and hear that appreciation. TAG Day is the perfect opportunity to showcase that as well as to connect our students with Pitt’s contributors,” Austin said.

Pitt grad and trustee Keith Schaefer (A&S’71) and current Pitt student Clayton Lyons
Pitt grad and trustee Keith Schaefer (A&S’71) and current Pitt student Clayton Lyons connected during last year's TAG Day event.

Among the highlights from last year’s TAG Day was a meeting between Pitt grad and trustee Keith Schaefer (A&S’71) and current Pitt student Clayton Lyons, pictured on the right. For the last three years, Lyons has been the recipient of the Keith E. Schaefer Undergraduate Scholarship in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

“It was nice to thank him and allow him to see the impact he has made in my life and that his money is going to a good place,” Clayton said. “My parents were not going to be able to help me pay for school beyond my freshman year, so I was going to have to pick up another job and take out more loans.”

Clayton plans to go on to medical school. He said he might not be able to take on med school loans if he had already picked up too much debt getting his undergraduate degree.

The endowed scholarship is just one of the ways Keith Schaefer supports the University and its students. Schaefer also supports Pitt athletics with a focus on men’s and women’s swimming programs, leadership programs for the Sigma Tau fraternity, out-of-class enrichment programs, and he mentors students throughout the year. 

“I was the first in my family to get a degree. It was a struggle and my parents had to sacrifice a lot, but they did what they needed to do,” said Keith who grew up in Baldwin, Pennsylvania but now lives in Los Angeles. “I want to be able to do for others what had been done for me and it makes my parents proud to know I’m doing this.”

You can follow along with TAG Day November 8 by searching for #PittTAGDay, or you can stop by campus and look for the tags yourself.

“Even if you are not a current student you can still acknowledge that donors are the life blood of this institution with a supportive post,” Austin said.