BVU Community Celebrated International Beaver Day

On Wednesday, April 3, Beavers everywhere celebrated our third International Beaver Day by coming together and supporting what they love about Buena Vista University.

Some 340 alumni and friends from 23 states and Canada gave in excess of $98,000 to support a variety of BVU efforts, ranging from the new Build-Up-Iowa Scholarship Fund to BVU Athletics to the Annual Fund and more.

“We exceeded our goal of 300 donors, which was incredible to see,” said Joan Canty, Vice President for University Advancement. “Alumni and friends from coast to coast joined in the effort, a number of them generously providing matching gifts that effectively allowed other contributors to see their donations double.”

No matter the size, every donation combined with others helped impact students, leading to extraordinary opportunities and meaningful experiences at BVU.

Students took part in a range of activities throughout the day. Nearly 200 students were able to take $5 apiece in “Buford Bucks” and decide where to designate a donor’s gift, made possible by a generous donation provided by Dan and Ronda (Kuehnast) Bacon ’96.

“We are thrilled to take part on International Beaver Day in this way,” Ronda said. “We were honored to be able to make our gift, then humbled to watch as it helped play a role in allowing our students to consider where they wished the gift should go.”

Students Joshua Woolcott and Joshua Tigges served as masters of ceremony for a popular wing-eating contest on Wednesday evening. More than 100 students joined to write thank you notes to donors, while many others recorded videos in which they expressed their appreciation.

Beaver friends and alumni who wished were able to receive a limited-edition “DAM PROUD” Beaver slap koozie with every gift of $25 or more.

“This is a fun way to celebrate BVU’s special day and give back to the Beaver family,” said Barbara Aiona, BVU Director of Annual Campaigns. “After making your gift to help support our students and programs, we’ll send you a ‘DAM PROUD’ koozie with the Beaver logo as a way for you to remember and show off your pride in all that we’ve done – and continue doing – at BVU!”

One member of the BVU Board of Trustees helped spur giving by offering a $25,000 donation once the International Beaver Day effort reached 200 donors.

Beavers also worked to fund 18 Build-Up Iowa Scholarships, an initiative that promises to grow enrollment while strengthening Iowa. The Build-Up-Iowa Scholarship Fund awards $2,000 to an Iowa resident who is a full-time undergraduate residing on the Storm Lake campus. The scholarship can be renewed up to four years with satisfactory academic progress and does not have to be repaid.

Gifts of $5 or more to the Build-Up-Iowa Scholarship Fund were generously matched dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, by the Phil ’65 and Marty Pigott family, which also includes daughter Kindra (Pigott) Franzen ’21.

“We can’t say enough about our generous alumni and friends, people like Phil Pigott, who joined his family in offering a wonderful matching gift to support and grow BVU, allowing more and more students each year to achieve their dreams while building their communities,” said BVU President Brian Lenzmeier. “This gift, and others like it, along with your support, will make International Beaver Day a highlight of our year and a difference-maker for all of us!”

To learn more about International Beaver Day, go to

(article by Tim Gallagher)