Rob Ganz and the Class of 1969 Lecture Fund: The Impact of Reunion Giving

Rob Ganz ’69 has been coordinating his George School class reunion initiatives since 1973. For more than 45 years, Rob has ensured that the Class of 1969 had a powerful reunion experience, drawing on his commitment and dedication to George School as the foundation for his important work with the class and with the school.

“My personality is such that I am an institutionalist,” said Rob, who was an attorney in practice in Albany, NY for more than 40 years before retiring to San Diego. “I am always involved in organizations, getting things done and bringing people together. I have served as President of my Synagogue and in leadership roles with various charities during my career. I have been volunteering at George School since I was a student. After graduation, I became the class agent for the Georgian and class reunion manager for the Class of 1969 starting in 1973 for our first reunion. In volunteer work, once you step up, you are essentially designated class leader until you say no. You never lose your position. On a personal level, I get a lot out of volunteering for my class. I get to reengage with classmates, get positive results, and do some good for the school through all the work. It would be disappointing to have a reunion that is not well-attended, well-organized, and engaging.”

“I do not do it all by myself,” continued Rob. “Each reunion year, there are about 10-15 others from different groups in the class who help me figure out how to best engage the Class of 1969. Reunion means two things to me. The first is the ability to return to a gorgeous campus—during a beautiful time of year—in which there are so many memories that stir my heart and soul. The second is to gather with my high school classmates who are so important in my life. It is the tactile, visual, and emotional aspects of being back on campus and renewing old friendships.”

Reunions are a chance to reconnect, reminisce, and celebrate with classmates, as well as take part in the tradition of giving. Reunion giving provides an excellent opportunity to support George School in a way that is personally meaningful to you. “We always urge classmates to make a gift to the George School Fund each year, but during a reunion year we select a specific project to rally the class behind,” explained Rob. “For our 25th reunion, we gifted a complex piece of furniture for McFeely Library that allowed early computers to be networked to give students access to online databases.”

When the Class of 1969 celebrated their 50th reunion in 2019, they challenged themselves with the ambitious goal of endowing a lecture fund. “After significant discussion, we realized that we could do a variety of things to honor this milestone reunion,” explained Rob. “Many of us recalled having engaging speakers at George School, so we thought that if we could add some outside innovation and thinking to the George School experience, we could make a significant impact. We would also feel like we were giving back to the current students just as we benefitted from the generosity of the prior generation before us.”

The inaugural Class of 1969 Lecture Fund event will take place on Friday, April 29, 2022 and feature the novelist and documentarian, Douglas Rushkoff. Douglas Rushkoff has spent his prolific career thinking about how new media and technology are impacting culture, business, and the economy. He is a Professor of Media Theory & Economics at City University of New York.

“I am extremely excited for the speaker that the George School faculty has chosen for the inaugural lecture,” said Rob. “His work and perspective will be thought-provoking for the students and the entire school community. Working with the George School administration to plan an event with the Class of 1969 to celebrate the first speaker has been wonderful. I encourage any member of the Class of 1969 who lives within reasonable distance to come to campus on April 29, hear what Douglas has to teach us, and have our own little gathering to celebrate the beginning of something we hope will last a very, very long time.”

In addition to being a decades-long leader for his class, Rob is a loyal donor to George School. “Each year, when I make my gift to George School, I now split it between the George School Fund and the lecture fund. George School is one of the great loves of my life,” said Rob. “My classmates had a chance to translate their enormous love for the school in a meaningful and impactful way through giving back as well. There are many members of the Class of 1969 that made gifts way beyond anything they have ever done before. With some cajoling by fellow classmates and support from Drusilla Buscemi in the Advancement Office, our vision to make a transformative gift like this became a reality.”

As reunion classes begin to think about how they can commemorate their place in George School’s history, Rob urges them to think about the types of gifts that can create a long-term impact for current students. “I was lucky enough to go to Tanzania for a service-learning trip–called work camps back when I was a student George School,” said Rob. “These experiences give students the opportunity to become engaged global citizens. I know George School is already committed to that, but the more experiential learning that can be funded by alumni, the more connected current students will be to the issues they are going to have to face as they grow.”

“If your reunion is coming up, and you can think big and work with George School to create a project that George School needs and resonates with the class, you will create something that will tangibly express your positive feelings and focus them on something that will persist into perpetuity all while creating deeper bonds with your class. Join your classmates and together reinforce how you feel about George School by the act of giving.”