By John P. Carter, Institutional Advancement
Alumnus William “Bill” Hardy ’80 is a successful business leader. He’s also a colleague, a friend, a father, and a husband, and he was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. To honor a man whom they love and respect, Hardy’s many supporters joined together to create an endowed scholarship for young leaders.
Hardy’s friends realized that they wanted to do something for him, but they were at a loss. Scott Hetzer, senior vice president and treasurer of Dominion Resources and a lifelong friend, visited him at his home to offer a number of ideas for fundraising. Hardy was supportive of all the organizations that might benefit from their generosity, but he was convinced that his alma mater and those students who had financial need should be the recipients of any fundraising effort. Hetzer suggested that a scholarship be established in Hardy’s name. Bill agreed, and Hetzer formed “Bill’s Buds Committee,” a collection of Hardy’s friends, which included Hampden-Sydney alumni Tom Allen ’60 and Kevin Beale ’80, to raise funds for the William E. Hardy Endowed Scholarship. It will benefit Hampden-Sydney students who exhibit exceptional character, drive, leadership, and financial need.
Bill’s Buds included men and women from the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, and Hampden-Sydney College. Each of the members of the committee had applicable skills particular to their fields. Many members were financial experts; others were in direct sales, law, and consulting. All of those on the committee supported various charities in the Richmond community. This particular project was different because they were supporting a Hampden- Sydney College scholarship, not another alma mater or a local charity. More importantly, each had a love and respect for Hardy and a desire to do their best in honoring him with a successful campaign. The committee decided to host a fundraising golf tournament and cocktail party to raise awareness for the scholarship and to attract more donors.
Bill’s Buds met for one hour each Wednesday from March 10, 2014, until May 14, 2014, the day before the golf tournament. After detailed planning and the work of dedicated committee members, there appeared to be no loose ends by day of the event.
Jil Harris, wife of Hampden-Sydney alumnus and trustee H. Hiter Harris III ’83, and Heather Daniel brought budgeting and planning experience to the table to ensure that costs, as a percentage of revenue, stayed under 6%. She worked with Sandy Yeatts at Hampden-Sydney to coordinate all of the incoming donations. Other committee members included Bill Cogar, Randy Daniel, Bart Farinholt, Tom Horton, Walter Jones, Freddie Moore, and Gene Webb.
Fundraising committees often employ the concept of division of labor.
This committee was no different. The committee discussed corporate donor prospects and asked for the names of Hardy’s friends, and they requested from Hampden-Sydney Vice President of Institutional Advancement Lee King ’94 a list of Hardy’s 1980 classmates and Lambda Chi fraternity brothers. They also contacted the potential corporate donors. Several people said they knew those donors, helping to carry the project forward. At each interval of planning the golf tournament and the cocktail party, several members would call out, “I’ll do that,” “I’ll contact him,” or “I’ve worked with them through my business.” Each committee member followed through as promised, with all members enthusiastically completing the tasks for which they had volunteered.
The big day arrived and 88 golfers turned out, despite a weather forecast predicting rain in the mid-afternoon. It didn’t. Hardy visited with some of the golfers and took a group picture, snaking his way with a golf cart around the course throughout the day.
A Hole-in-One insurance policy was purchased to add some fun to the game, and remarkably, one player hit a hole-in-one. The prize was a big-screen TV. The cocktail party was held inside the Country Club of Virginia and was well attended with about 400 supporters. President Chris Howard was in attendance, as were other members of the Hampden-Sydney staff.
Hetzer announced a surprise challenge at the cocktail party: If he could raise another $20,000 by the end of May, then three challengers would match that amount. This triggered Hetzer’s altruism, with him announcing that he and his wife would donate additional funds. Despite the dead silence that ensued for several minutes, Hetzer remained composed. Then a guest spoke up: “I’ll give $1,000!” And then another called out. Within minutes, the crowd rallied to meet the $20,000 target, even exceeding the challenged amount.
This entire event generated more than $460,000 for the William E. Hardy Endowed Scholarship. In honoring their colleague, friend, father, and husband, these people have given future leaders the chance to succeed at Hampden-Sydney College.