Kathryn Whitehead Tohir ’81 is a volunteer’s volunteer when it comes to Wellesley. She is active in the Southwest Connecticut Wellesley Club, serving as the club’s Alumnae Admissions Representative as well as its book-award chair. But she has another passion—raising funds for Wellesley. She is currently serving as chair of the College’s Durant Society, as well as Durant co-chair for her class. (Named after Wellesley’s founders, the Durant Society honors generous supporters of the College.) We put three questions to her:
What got you started with volunteering for Wellesley?
Several years ago, I was asked to help out with the 25th reunion for my class by making phone calls to classmates asking for their financial support of Wellesley. The more I learned about Wellesley’s needs, the more I wanted to help. After discovering that less than half of the cost of a Wellesley education is covered by tuition, with alumnae gifts making up much of the rest of the cost, I felt it was important to devote more time to asking classmates if they would consider becoming part of that supportive group of alumnae. I became more involved with the Southwestern Connecticut Wellesley Club around the same time.
What do you take away from this work?
Because I’ve been involved in a variety of capacities, I’ve reconnected with all different parts of the Wellesley community, from the administration and professors on campus, to alumnae from several classes (especially my classmates), and even prospective students through my AAR and book-award work. I feel closer to Wellesley now than at any time since my graduation.
What advice would you give to volunteers working for the Campaign to Advance the Wellesley Effect?
When I first started volunteering for Wellesley, I found it difficult, as so many do, to pick up the phone and ask people to make gifts to Wellesley. By reminding myself that I wasn’t asking for anything for myself, but rather for the hundreds of current and future Wellesley students who might not be able to attend Wellesley absent efforts by Resources volunteers, I always felt reinvigorated and up to the task.