oped-roger duncan

To the editor:From a letter to the Lawrence University Development Department:

As a graduate of Lawrence, I find your [the development department’s] pursuit of my money to be most troubling. I am deeply hurt that your needs for my money outweigh your needs for the things that I am willing and able to give. I have repeatedly offered my non-financial support and you continue to cleverly badger me for my money.
I felt my Lawrence education was good in terms of books and papers. I am able to read, write, speak, and think for myself. But, Lawrence was woefully poor in preparing me to make good decisions in the outside world. Lawrence’s introverted programming did a poor job of preparing me for post-graduate concerns. During my college career, the Career Center was shunted away in a small, out-of-the-way space, and staffed by people who had no recent experience or real resources beyond a few books. I went in, but had no clue about how to start learning about the details of life after Lawrence.
I can now contribute my experience and my counsel to current students. I have no money for you or for them. If you wish to continue your current money-centric campaign, please remove me from your lists. I will not give in to such a simple and short-sighted plan. Moreover, I have no money with which I can part and get nothing back.
If, on the other hand, you ask me to critique an art student’s portfolio, I will gladly accept. If you ask me to offer counsel on military experience and explain my post-graduate choices, I will gladly accept. If you ask me to open a door for a Lawrence student seeking to relocate to my area, I will gladly accept. I am a member of the Lawrence community-I have no extra money, though.
I expect you will take this letter and throw it in the recycle bin. But I challenge you to surprise me and ask for the aid which I can give. Put my name and information in a database at the Career Center. Acknowledge the non-financial gifts I am willing and able to make. I won’t be writing anything off of my taxes because of my membership in the Lawrence community this year. But, if my real world knowledge can aid a current or recently graduated student, I wish to offer that instead. If all you care about is my money, don’t waste valuable postage money on writing to me ever again.

Roger S. Duncan, ’94