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Vandal alums, donors gear up for VGD

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President Chuck Staben and and Wells Fargo Regional Banking Region President Don Melendez

With the Sept. 13 University of Idaho Vandal Giving Day (VGD) approaching, alumni, donors and corporate partners have joined in to ensure the success of the university’s first online giving day challenge.

Alumni ambassadors are lending their social media talents to ensure the giving day message is cast broadly — look for #vandalsgive on your social media channels — while corporate and foundation partners are sponsoring matching funds to help raise needed support in the area of scholarships and programs at UI. Even the University of Idaho Foundation has gotten in the game: Once 500 donors pledge support during VGD, the Foundation will give $25,000 toward UI’s General Scholarship Fund.

It’s the generous support of our alumni and donors that make campaigns such as VGD possible. Alumni often take the lead in providing the financial support to ensure the success of our students. They also inspire others to give, through encouraging their employers to join us and help fund the transformational education we provide our students at UI.

Take for instance Philip “Flip” Kleffner and the leadership of Wells Fargo & Co. in Boise. Kleffner, a 2008 College of Business and Economics alumnus and vice president/business banking manager with Wells Fargo, along with company Regional Banking Region President Don Melendez, has provided a $25,000 match for VGD. Once donors contribute $25,000 online, Wells Fargo will match that amount as a corporate gift to the university’s giving day efforts.

“Wells Fargo values education at all levels and shares that same idea that in order for our communities to succeed financially we have to be continually investing in education,” Kleffner said. “Our team members live and work in the communities we serve, so to support those educational systems is an investment in our team members and their families as well. At the end of the day, by supporting education we are supporting our future generation, future leaders, and helping ensure they have the opportunity to succeed financially.”

In addition to being an advocate for the VGD, Kleffner is a lifelong Vandal who hails from a legacy of Vandals. His family knows first-hand how the university prepares tomorrow’s leaders. Kleffner’s great-grandparents are Vandals, as well as his grandfather, Flip Kleffner, who served as the executive director of the Alumni Association for 17 years. His parents, Matt and Marie, are also Vandals, and Matt’s previously worked as UI’s senior associate athletic director.

Kleffner recalls the countless hours he spent on campus during his childhood with his father and grandfather, as well as how attending UI was a transformation experience.

“It’s a time in your life where you have the safety and structure of the university, but also the freedom and accountability of the real world. It forces you to decide who and what you want to be,” Kleffner said. “UI taught me how to work hard, how to overcome all sorts of challenges, how to be accountable, and how to achieve a goal. The lessons I learned there impact me on a daily basis and are the foundation for who I am.”

Like countless Vandal legacy families like the Kleffners, attending the University of Idaho had a significant impact on their lives.

“I support this incredible university because it helped make me who I am today,” Kleffner said. “I’m not me without the University of Idaho, and I am proud to be a Vandal. It is a part of my family’s history, and will always be a big piece of me. To support a flagship institution that continues to do that, and be that, for so many people is an easy decision. Education is so crucially important to the success of our country and economy, that it I see it as more of an investment in an organization that has a proven track record for developing successful leaders and people.”

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College of Business and Economics 2008 graduate and Wells Fargo Vice President/Business Banking Manager Flip Kleffner

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