Bob Gaines, C’60, has a great way of remembering his annual gift to Sewanee: He makes that gift on his birthday. Much of his giving supports the German Department at Sewanee, and his philanthropy is very much tied to the Class of 1960 identity. Gaines is second from right in the middle row.

The reaction of Bob Gaines's, C'60, is immediate. “Fun!” he says of the idea that IMPACT would do a story about his birthday giving. For over sixty years, now, Gaines has taken pains to make a gift to Sewanee on his birthday, and often, he will send along a comment with his gift along the lines of, “It’s my birthday, and it is better to give than to receive.” 

Over the years, Gaines has not only supported several causes at Sewanee, but he has also served as a class agent (and senior class president) and been a sturdy advocate for class projects and a loyal contributor. Gaines is particularly grateful for the opportunity to keep his ties of friendship strong through his work for the University, and he travels widely, visiting old friends.  “I’ve learned a lot about fundraising over the years, says Gaines.  "And I have learned it is easier to do the job if I have already given. Over the years, occasionally, I would wonder, ‘Have I made my gift to Sewanee this year?’—not that it wouldn’t be all right to make two, of course. Making the gift on my birthday helped me remember.“

In addition to making an annual gift in October of each year, Gaines has also tried as often as possible to visit Munich in October for Oktoberfest. After graduating from Sewanee in 1960, he was encouraged to study in Germany with Professor Robert Nieschlag, a German economist who developed modern marketing principles. Gaines—who studied German at Sewanee—thought that would be a good idea, and his time in Munich built a lifelong love for the German language,and particularly for the German festival Oktoberfest. In addition to making gifts to the Sewanee Fund and to more than one class project, Gaines is a perennial supporter of the German Department at Sewanee. “Language study is so important,” says Gaines, “and I want to help keep the study of not just German but other languages alive.”

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