Five Minutes with Dana Gill ’11, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

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Meet Dana Gill ’11, who serves the Advancement Department as the assistant director of annual giving. In her role, Dana collaborates with her team to create a successful annual giving program, an ongoing fundraising effort, to help the college meet the needs of its students. As an alumna herself, Dana is passionate about helping all students reach their goals, the way many faculty and staff members did for her as well. Most recently, Dana began leading the Student Philanthropy Council, a group that is dedicated to teaching Comets about nonprofit organizations, fostering relationships between all generations of OC alumni, and hosting fundraisers on campus.

Why do you love working at OC?

Being back on campus is certainly a treat! It is amazing how many people remember my name, even though it has been several years since I have been back on campus. Being a part of Olivet’s close-knit family is very special.

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year at OC. The campus completely transforms. Everywhere you look there are blasts of color!

Above everything else, it is an honor to be a part of an establishment that believes so wholeheartedly in assisting others in realizing their dreams and finding their success. And my goodness, OC does it right! We aren’t just concerned with getting students trained and out the door, but instead take the time to invest in each student’s individual story and needs. You truly don’t find that everywhere you go. It was the main reason why, almost a decade ago now, I chose The University of Olivet over four other major universities. OC has that “something special!”

What opportunities are there for students in the Philanthropy Council?

Our Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) is a wonderful way to get involved on campus and within the community. The word philanthropy actually means, The desire to promote the welfare of others.”

OC’s SPC helps promote and raise money for causes on campus, assists with the planning and running of events such as Philanthropy Day and Olivet Gives, has the opportunity to connect with our alumni and donor base, and gets to meet with other professionals working in the nonprofit field. Our SPC also focuses on learning what it takes to operate a nonprofit organization. Many students go on to work in the nonprofit field, so presenting them with the opportunity to learn a bit about the ins and outs of nonprofit work early on is beneficial in a multitude of ways.

Overall, SPC gives students the chance to learn and understand the different roles that may be presented to them once they leave OC, especially for those who are interested in working for or possibly even running a nonprofit organization.

What are you most looking forward to in the first year of the Student Philanthropy Council?

We have some extremely exciting first-time events coming up, including our first ever giving day, which we have officially named Olivet Gives. This event will last for one full day and will bring together the entire campus, alumni, and the community of Olivet. We will be sharing action from all over campus throughout the day. We will also be issuing giving challenges, opening a giving battle between the decades, hosting interviews with faculty and staff, and so much more. You are not going to want to miss this, so mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 22 and plan to tune in to OC’s Facebook page throughout the day to catch all that will be going on.

How do you encourage students to Be More and Do Good?

Make it a personal goal to help someone every day. Hold a door for someone, help them carry their books, offer to share your umbrella on a rainy day. There are so many ways to give of ourselves, and yet so many missed opportunities. Helping someone doesn’t have to be done in some huge or outstanding fashion. Sometimes just offering someone a smile and telling them to enjoy their day is all that is needed to brighten someone’s spirits. You can decide to spread joy or hate, so choose wisely. Make every day count!

Why is attending OC the “Best. Decision. Ever.”?

The personal attention given to each student at The University of Olivet is something that cannot be overlooked. Faculty and staff don’t just recognize you as another one of their students, but actually know you. Trust me, there is a big difference between just being recognized and actually being understood.

What is the number one piece of advice you share with students?

No matter your age or what stage of life you are in, never ever be afraid to learn and try new things. You never know where it will lead. I never imagined myself running my own nonprofit, but it was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and has led me to other dreams and ambitions that I never could have imagined for myself. Many times, if it scares you, it’s probably worth a try.

More about Dana:
  • Dana continued her studies in exotic animal medicine after graduating from The University of Olivet with a biology degree. She began volunteering at the Toledo Zoo and was inspired to start her own nonprofit – ZooRehab, dedicated to providing critical enhancements to zoos and rehabilitation centers across the region.
  • One of her favorite foods is cheese.
  • Dana is also learning to play the cello.

Learn more about the Student Philanthropy Council and opportunities to get involved at OC by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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