his fifth-year reunion, 1981 Wesleyan alumnus Paul DiSanto realized the
importance of pledging annual gifts to the university.
the type of education Wesleyan offers is important, and can only continue
with support from future generations,” he says.
has pledged an annual gift every year since. As Wesleyan’s director of
leadership gifts, DiSanto has also encouraged several thousand other alumni
to give to their alma mater.
works with a number of top donors and helps build strong programs for the
two most prominent reunions each year, the 25th and 50th.
focusing on raising as much money as we can from those classes, but also on
ensuring that these milestone reunions are a great experience, and bringing
the alumni back, or closer, to Wesleyan,” he says.
and Frantz Williams '99, associate director of leadership giving, work
closely with their colleagues in Major Gifts, Planned Giving, the Annual
Fund and Alumni Programs to coordinate an efficient and effective reunion
program. They touch on everything from the class books and class photos to
class dinners, which DiSanto anticipates will lead to a big reunion class
the reunion, many alumni take the opportunity to really think more seriously
about their giving, and make their biggest gifts at this time,” DiSanto
Williams describes his colleague as a “walking database.”
can really connect with people on a personal level,” Williams says. “If
someone mentions where he’s from, his children, cousins or dogs, Paul will
remember that, and having that kind of connection makes him a very powerful
spends a good deal of time at his 318 High Street office communicating with
alumni via phone and email. Much of this involves recruiting reunion
volunteers and strategizing with colleagues about issues and programs.
his 19 years at Wesleyan, DiSanto has worked under three presidents, two
acting presidents, four vice presidents for University Relations and two
acting vice presidents. He started as the director of alumni programs and
outreached to alumni and local clubs.
seen a great amount of change here,” he says.
also played a significant a role in the recently completed $281 million
Wesleyan Campaign. During this five-year span, he held several positions
including director of regional major gifts, director of the Wesleyan Annual
Fund and director of major gifts and reunion fundraising. His job title
changed to director of leadership gifts in June.
the campaign, he traveled to cities nation-wide, most recently to New York,
Boston, Washington D.C. and cities within Connecticut. During these visits,
he made contact with alumni and parents, and encouraged them to
be supportive of Wesleyan.
rewarding that the work I have done during my time at Wesleyan resulted in
some of the major gifts to the Wesleyan Campaign,” he says.
says the key to being successful in the fund-raising field is having common
sense and the drive to work hard. He aims to listen and build trust with
from fund-raising, DiSanto works out at the Freeman Athletic Center three
times a week, plays golf, reads and enjoys following world and national
his wife, Lynne, spend ample time with their sons Greg, 13, and Alex, 10.
DiSanto is their baseball, basketball and soccer coach and volunteers at
their schools and church.
family also roots on the Boston Red Sox.
been to a Red Sox game every year since '65, and don't plan on having the
streak end,” he says. “Sure was great to see them win it all last year.”