Giving – Class Gift for 50th Reunion
(Letter sent by Class President Chris Cikanovich, 8/24/2021.)
Within the next few days, you will receive a telephone call from a representative of the Naval Academy Foundation who will discuss with you the exciting opportunity to support the Class of 1975’s 50th Reunion Class Legacy Gift. Before you take the call, I’d like to share with you why your contribution is so important, and how our class gift will greatly impact today’s generation of midshipmen and those to come.
Since I was eight years old, all I’ve wanted to do was fly…that goal was further cemented when my cousin graduated from the Academy in 1963. Although I was only 11 at his graduation party, I remember seeing him in his service dress white uniform, driving his new ‘63 Corvette and thinking, “That looks really good!” Of course, the fact that you get to fly after the Academy, really fueled my desire even more.
After being disappointingly selected as an alternate the first time I applied, since I was already a reservist, I chose to go on active duty. A chief and my Blue and Gold officer told me about the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS). Soon after, I applied for admission and thus began my Naval journey. I was excited when, after my time as a NAPSter, I learned I had received appointments to the Naval Academy, West Point, and the Air Force Academy, but I stuck with my Navy dream…if you’re going to be a pilot, you should really seek to be at the top of the ziggurat, right? To me, the Academy would provide me with the opportunities I so desperately craved, and of course, the Navy was the best of the best! Remember the end of Plebe Summer, when we marched into the hall for dinner, heard those off-season Christmas carols, and the big bronze doors slammed shut? It was daunting, to say the least.
We were at the Academy during a very distinctive time in American history…a growing sense of disapproval of the Vietnam War led to strong opposition for and mistrust of the military throughout the country. In fact, I don’t think the Commandant of Midshipmen meant for us to adopt the moniker he so frustratingly gave us during that talk at Mahan Hall, but from that point on, we were the “Flower Children” of the Brigade.
I owe everything I have to the Academy—I even met my wife in the chapel when I was serving as a sword bearer at a wedding, after graduation. We learned the value of friendship and strengthened our bonds during our shared experiences…our class still holds the record for climbing greased Herndon Monument! Today’s midshipmen are still motivated by the right things and are tried and true to their country, just as we were. My classmates and their families are as close as blood relatives and no matter what the circumstance, we look out for each other.
All of us that comprise our unique class now have the opportunity to give back to the Academy—with our 50th Reunion Class Legacy Gift. Although the Naval Academy receives federal funding for its core needs, I’m sure you’re aware that it still relies heavily on private donations to ensure that “margin of excellence.” With our help, the Academy can bridge the gap and continue to provide top-notch experiences to the dedicated midshipmen who will one day lead our sailors and Marines in this ever-changing world.
Our class project has a goal of $2,000,000, which will be split four ways in support of some very special initiatives.
First, $750,000 will go toward the new Alumni Center, which breaks ground this fall. We’re fortunate as our classmate, Tig Krekel has already donated an entire wing. If we meet or exceed our naming opportunity goal of $500,000 the Arrival Plaza will be named for the Class of 75. Additionally, when we achieve our goal for the naming opportunity, Tig has offered to make an additional donation of $250,000 to ensure ‘75 will also be recognized in the North Garden Terrace of the new center with a class plank. It would be so fulfilling if members of our class could become individual plank owners as part of the overall program. Plankowner donations are counted toward our overall goal.
Second, $470,000 will support Athletic Excellence, which endured major financial setbacks this past year because of Covid-19. We also will support the Naval Academy Fund, affording Naval Academy leadership great flexibility in providing a margin of excellence to the midshipman experience, going well beyond what would be possible with federal appropriations alone. The Naval Academy Fund supports the operations of the Foundation, enabling the facilitation of more than $60 million annually in private gift commitments as well as important financial support for programs of your Alumni Association, and funds a variety of additional extra-curricular activities.
Finally, our class has opted to take the lead on raising money for the expansion of the Columbarium, which is quickly reaching its full capacity. As the dignified final resting place for so many honorable classmates, this expansion will be completely funded by private donations.
For more information on these initiatives, please visit: https://www.usna.com/usna75project
At the Academy, we learned accountability, responsibility, and leadership skills, providing us with a smart start for our personal and professional lives. I was fully prepared to be a naval officer and want to ensure that tomorrow’s midshipmen are too. It’s up to us to ensure this level of education continues. We often heard the motto, “Cooperate and Graduate”. We learned to do just that, and I ask you to remember that as you consider making a pledge to the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1975 50th Reunion Class Gift. Our goal of $2,000,000 could be attained easily if each of us participates. We are asking you to make a pledge of $625 per quarter over five years for a total gift of $12,500.
If you would like to make a gift now, please visit our class giving page here. If you would like to set up a pledge, please use this class specific pledge form that can easily be filled out and sent via email or mailed to the Foundation.
Thank you in advance for taking the call from the Foundation’s representative and your anticipated generosity. A pledge form and return envelope have been enclosed for your convenience. Together, we will help instill the next generation of midshipmen with the skills they will need to be successful in their career and in their lives.
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Christopher J. Cikanovich ’75
The Foundation may assess a 5 percent establishment fee on all gifts restricted to a specific purpose, as well as a 1.25 percent annual management fee on the remaining balance in those funds and endowments restricted for a specific purpose. Gifts made to the unrestricted Naval Academy Fund, or to class projects that include a portion to the Naval Academy Fund, are exempt from these fees. Income from these fees helps fund the Foundation’s operations as well as those of the Alumni Association.