I graduated from Valdosta State College in 1974. In 1993 the Board of Regents awarded it the more prestigious title of Valdosta State University. I got a nice letter from the school’s president saying that the university designation would add value to my diploma. I sure was glad to hear that as we needed a new lawn mower.
A few days later, a very pleasant young student named Mindy called on behalf of the V.S.U. Annual Fund Drive. She was polite, personable, and a good conversationalist. I thanked her for volunteering to help make the calls. She asked if I had seen the recent letter, and said that she hoped I would support the university with a donation.
“Mindy,” I said, “I’ll be glad to help out, but first I have a question.”
She said that was fine and she would certainly try to answer it.
I said, “That letter mentioned that my diploma now has more value, but it didn’t give any figures. About how much value will the university designation add to my diploma?”
Mindy said she wasn’t sure about that.
I said, “Mindy, I was thinking about using that added value to buy a lawn mower, but now I’m thinking that at least some of that increase should go to the university. Does that seem reasonable?”
She said that seemed very reasonable, but that she didn’t know how to determine how much the added value was.
I told her that it didn’t have to be exact, just a ballpark figure. “If we’re talking $10,000, then it seems like the university should get at least ten percent of that. Does that seem fair, Mindy?”
She said it seemed very fair, but that she wasn’t sure about the $10,000 figure.
I said, “Mindy, I may have a way to find out how much value was added. I run a small independent bank in Vienna. I could take that letter to my board of directors, show them that my diploma is now worth more, and find out what they plan to do about a raise.”
Mindy said that might work, and that she sure hoped I got the raise.
Then I realized that I might have been thinking too small with the $10,000 illustration. I said, “Mindy, if they give me $10,000 a year and I work another 20 years, that would be $200,000. At ten percent the university would get $20,000!”
Mindy said that sounded great and that she hoped to hear from me soon.
I told her one thing that might help would be if someone from the university could come and meet with my directors. They could explain exactly how the value of my diploma had increased and how that would affect the bank.
She said she could mention that to the fund drive chairman, but she wasn’t sure if anyone was available to make such presentations.
I assured Mindy this could be a bonanza for the university. I suggested they use some color graphs and visual aids. They could show how much value was added to each diploma, then show how much value that would add to each business.
She seemed to be losing a little bit of her enthusiasm, so I offered to come present my idea to their fund drive committee. “But Mindy, there’s one thing you need to think about,” I said. “Some of the fund drive staff probably graduated from Valdosta when it was a college. When I show them my pie charts, a lot of them may be demanding a raise. It’s possible that could result in some personnel issues.”
Mindy said that it might be best if she had her supervisor call me later. I told her that was a great idea and that I would be looking forward to the call. They must have lost my number. I waited a few days then mailed a check for my usual $100.
I should have sent a bigger donation. I had more than $100 worth of fun talking to Mindy. I guess that letter was right. Becoming a university really did add some value to my diploma.
Now that was funny! I get calls all the time from UGA and I usually tell them before they go into their texted spill I will send the usual amount.. I think I will try your method of talking with them,
Good one, Neil. Your stories have useful life lessons, I’m usually so irritated by solicitations I don’t take time to have fun with them. I’m going to try on the next one, I’ll report back.
Neil, that was so funny! I enjoyed this article so much. You could have been a writer and a comedian, along with being a banker. I alwqys look forward to your weekly articles. Great job!
You’re too much, Neil! Good one!
I wonder if your conversation with Mindy was traumatic for her. Neil, you might have caused the end of her donation requests. Great story!!
You should write another book. You could make title “Circling the Drain”. I got a kick out of watching Mindy ‘circle the drain’.
You are so bad!!, but wasn’t it fun. Another great article.
I second Marcine Crozier’s suggestion about the book…and the title. Especially if some of the stories involve Jane trying to avoid watching folks “circling the drain.” Poor Jane, and poor Mindy!