Roberta Osborne ’09 was mulling new ways to inspire class giving a few years ago. It was the fall, and she was looking forward to the Harvard-Yale game. “So I thought, ‘Everyone loves to beat Yale. That could be a healthy competition and an effective way to motivate people to give,’” she remembers. Osborne was right.

Now in its fourth year, the Harvard-Yale Participation Challenge brought in more than 4,000 gifts to the Harvard College Fund in mid-November—beating Yale 4,064 to 3,870. Volunteers from across classes reached out at The Game and by phone, e-mail, and social media, and a group of generous alumni provided a $100,000 matching gift. These and other immediate-use funds support financial aid, new classes, undergraduate research, and other Faculty of Arts and Sciences priorities.

A native of Shoreacres, Texas, Osborne concentrated in economics with a secondary field in government and was a member of the sailing team. She says the confidence and problem-solving skills that Harvard helped sharpen are invaluable in her current role with the hedge fund solutions group at Blackstone in New York.

Osborne started volunteering with her senior class campaign and today is a 1636 Society chair for her class, encouraging donors to give every year. Her leadership role offers a chance to make new friends and thank Harvard. “I think it’s really important to stay involved and give back to the institution that has given so much to me,” Osborne reflects. “And it’s been a great way to broaden my Harvard community.”

Roberta Osborne is a 1636 Society chair for the Class of 2009.


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