Times change. People change. Styles change. Names change. Even the Purdue University Telefund — the student-staffed fundraising call center — has changed its name to RALLY LINE.

Rally Line

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and other top administrators visited the first night of the Rally for PETE to show support and encourage student callers for their role in fundraising for the University. Photo by Mark Simons.

The one thing we can always count on is change. But the more things change, the more they remain the same in one important way at Purdue University. Tradition. It is — and always will be — the cornerstone of the student experience. Generations of Boilermakers have forged bonds through a host of rituals and observances that have stood the test of time.

One of those time-honored traditions is the Purdue fight song, Hail Purdue, which begins “To your call once more we rally, Alma Mater hear our praise. Where the Wabash spreads its valley, Filled with joy our voices raise.”

This verse inspired the Telefund’s name change.

The Rally Line employs 130 students each semester, continuing a tradition that began in 1988 of students making calls to alumni. Rally Line callers make contact with more than 67,000 alumni each year and raise more than $2 million annually in support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships, research, renovations, programs and other University initiatives.

Rally tallies surpass goal

The Purdue tradition of support was illustrated once again during the week of Oct. 14, 2013, as donors rallied for PETE (Proud Endorser of a Tradition of Excellence) and helped the student callers surpass their $100,000 goal for the week by raising more than $157,000 in pledges, with 40 percent of that being pledged the first night.

Rally for PETE

Christine Ladisch, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, visits the Rally for PETE to show her support. Photo by Mark Simons.

“Creating Rally for PETE was a way to generate support and educate alumni on the impact of giving,” says Tiffany Baer, director of annual giving. “We hope donors will come away understanding that their gift, along with all others that come in, creates a ripple effect that spreads and affects the lives of all in its path. And when I hear the students talk to alumni, I see how much they care. When you see the students realize that the calls they are making are important, that’s what this is all about,” says Baer.

Student callers had a lot of support during their week of calling. Among their visitors were Amy Noah, vice president for development; Willie Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Christine Ladisch, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences; Pam Horne, associate vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admissions; Purdue Pete and, yes, Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

One of the highlights came when one student received a gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine the same night Dr. Reed was visiting. “It was exciting,” says Baer. “The student was talking and told the donor that Dr. Reed wanted to talk with her.” As it turned out, Reed knew the caller. Baer continues: “It was amazing and he was so excited.”

Student caller Maggie Malone (PSY ’16) was able to spend some time with and express her gratitude to Horne, the person behind the creation of the Presidential and Trustees Scholarships in 2008. “I really enjoyed talking with her and was excited to know she created the program. I especially liked telling her just how these scholarships are helping me and other students,” says Malone, now in her third semester as a student caller.

Malone says she sees big and small donations that add up to big impact. “These gifts represent tuition for students who get to go to college when they wouldn’t have otherwise,” she says.

“I feel such pride when I talk with alumni who haven’t been back in years and who give generously every year just because they love Purdue,” Malone continues. “It shows me how much Purdue can leave with you. It makes me love Purdue that much more.”

And in a time-honored tradition, donors demonstrated once again that “ever grateful, ever true” are more than words in the chorus of our school song.