Patrick Staunton ’01 was wrapping up his second term as president of the Welding Engineering Alumni Society late last year and wanted to leave his mark on the group. More importantly, he wanted to help inspire the students who would someday join their ranks. His self-appointed mission: Help raise $50,000 to endow a fund that would defray students’ expenses for professional conferences and other opportunities.
The timing was perfect. The society had its annual meeting at the FABTECH conference, which was in Chicago at the end of November. Welding engineering alumni are a “close tribe” and proud of the fact that the program has 100% job placement going back decades.
“Once you’re in as a student, you work together and rely on each other … and that continues on during your career,” Staunton says.
So during a lunch when the alumni paid for all the Buckeye students to attend and to hear a presentation about Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebration from University Archivist Tamar Chute, Staunton sprang into action. Literally.
“It was my last time up there so I cajoled, I ran around,” Staunton says, modestly adding that he pledged $25,000 and was relying on his fellow alumni to pledge the other half. “The pledges kept creeping up. We were $10,000 away, then $5,000, then under $1,000. Finally, we got it.”
Chute was impressed. “One thing that really stood out was our alumni and students all sitting together mixed at the tables,” she says. “It was clear that our alumni embraced the students and helping to make them successful.”
The generosity displayed that afternoon was special to witness firsthand. “It was so awesome,” Chute says, adding that it took only a few minutes for the funds to be raised. “I have never been part of something like that.”
“It probably only did take five minutes, but it felt like forever,” Staunton says. “I had no idea if it [would] work or not, but luckily it did.”