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The Telefund Connection: a student caller and donors share what Telefund means to them.

Sam Brinton, a fifth-year senior at K-State, looks forward to being on the other end of the Telefund call.
By Susan Wolf Berhow
Read this story in Good for K-State Magazine.

How does K-State Telefund make a difference? Aside from raising more than $1.5 million for K-State’s nine academic colleges in 2010, it’s also a way for K-State students to learn about philanthropy and a way for alumni to stay connected to their alma mater. Here, a student caller and donors share what Telefund means to them.

The caller:
Sam Brinton, fifth-year senior, Perry, Iowa

Sam Brinton gets chills just thinking about receiving his first Telefund call as an alumnus someday. “I want the caller to be a freshman in nuclear engineering, and I want it to be his or her first call!” he said. Since he was a freshman, Sam has been a bit of a Telefund junkie. He’s called every year for four years, and each year he calls for at least three nights. “I fell in love with the idea of helping other students,” he said. “Telefund is a chance for students and alumni to impact K-State directly.”

Sam is a nuclear engineering and vocal music/opera double major with a minor in Chinese. Although he was accepted into a few Ivy League schools, Sam chose K-State because of the opportunities to get involved on campus and with alumni.

Sam is proud of his Telefund caller track record (he reaches about 150 alumni per night, and usually gets a donation from 60 to 70 of them), and he loves being able to talk to alumni about their post-K-State lives. “When I talk to alumni, I ask about how they got where they are and ask questions about their companies,” he said.

Sam’s ultimate goal — other than eventually pursuing a career in international nuclear law — is to give back and make an even bigger impact as an alumnus.

“My end-all, be-all goal would be to establish the Brinton Auditorium,” he said. “I really want there to be performance space dedicated to music at K-State.” He’d also like to help fund diversity scholarships and a future meeting space for LGBT and Allies, a K-State student group that provides a safe and open environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, and their straight allies.

They are big dreams, sure. But Sam won’t put off giving back until he’s made it big as an attorney. Thanks to all those years of Telefund calling, Sam plans to give what he can, even when he’s in graduate school. “No matter the size of the gift, I know I will be making an impact.”

The donors

Sam isn’t the only one who gets excited about Telefund. Find out why K-State alumni and friends answer the call and support the campaign.

 “We benefited from our experiences at K-State, and we want the university as a whole and our colleges in particular to continue to prosper. We are proud to be a small part of this continuing great K-State family.” John Morgan — Janet Duncan ’63, Manhattan, Kan.

 “I think Telefund is excellent training for students, and we like to help them be successful. Both my wife, Linda, and I attended K-State because of scholarships. Being able to repay that a bit is a good feeling.” — ’74, Spicewood, Texas

 “I actually hope that I am home when they call! I love to give back to K-State when I can, but I also enjoy talking with the students.” — Gayle Dembski ’82, Los Angeles, Calif.

 “I love talking to the students. They are so enthusiastic, and I can tell they love K-State just as much as I do.” — Sara Edwards ’98, Atlanta, Ga.

 “My call was a fun reminder of Telefund and my memories with the event. I like to learn about the caller: what major the caller is, internships/experiences they’ve had, and their future plans.” — Blake Brosa ’09, Minneapolis, Minn.

How you can help

Have you fulfilled you Telefund pledge? You can make a gift online here.