This study explored the characteristics and determinants of graduate alumni donor behavior at colleges and universities in the United States. This dissertation provided a generalizable picture of graduate alumni donors using a nationally representative dataset that was collected by the Performance Enhancement Group. Using Astin's (1997) student involvement theory as the framework, this dissertation examined the demographic and involvement characteristics of graduate degree alumni donors and nondonors. Demographic characteristics of graduate alumni were identified using descriptive and inferential statistics. Graduate student involvement characteristics were quantified using three sets of variables: participation in 12 activities, clubs, or groups; the importance of 13 activities and relationships to their graduate school experience; and their rating of how well their graduate alma mater performed in providing those 13 activities or relationships. Descriptive and inferential statistics determined if graduate alumni donors were significantly different from graduate alumni nondonors. Logistic regression was used to determine the marginal effect of each involvement variable on the probability that graduate alumni would become donors. Results were compared to data of undergraduate alumni as well. Findings from this study revealed suggestions for future research and suggestions for higher education practitioners.
There were three major findings of this dissertation. First, participation with ethnic/cultural centers had a negative impact on the probability an alum would become a donor, at both the graduate level ( –4%, p < .001), and undergraduate level (–3%, p ≤ .01). Second, contrary to prior research, relationships with both student peers and with faculty had little to no marginal effect on donor status for graduate and undergraduate alumni. The third major finding of this dissertation was that professional development and career related activities had the largest impact on the probability of graduate alumni being donors. Three career related variables had large and significant effects on donor status: performance student employment (4%, p ≤ .01), participated professional organizations (5%, p < .001), and performance skills/training for career (5%, p ≤ .01). This last major finding suggests that colleges and universities should devote more resources to graduate student career development services.
|Commitee:||Conger, Dylan, Jakeman, Rick|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Leadership and Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, School administration, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Alumni, Career services, Fundraising, Graduate education, Student development, Student involvement|
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