Perfect Match

October 1, 2014

Young alumnus doubles the impact of scholarship gift.

Each year thousands of Penn alumni get ready for their reunions by opening up their yearbooks, dusting off their Quaker regalia, and heading for Philadelphia. Alex Havenick, C’04, recently took his preparations even further by endowing an undergraduate scholarship for students in the College in honor of his tenth reunion.

Alex and Barbara Havenick with sons Jordan, left, and Gavin.

“My friend who was chairing the reunion suggested that I do it. He said it was important to Penn,” Havenick says. Scholarship gifts like the Alexander and Barbara Havenick Family Endowed Scholarship truly are important because they put a life-changing Penn education within reach of all qualified students regardless of their economic background.

To make their gift, the Havenicks took advantage of a special challenge grant available only to scholarship donors who have graduated within the last ten years. The matching grant provided by the Young Alumni Scholarship program effectively doubles the value of a scholarship gift so recent graduates can establish fully endowed named scholarships with only half the investment required for a traditional scholarship gift. It is one of several matching grants that are available to help financial aid donors increase the impact of their giving.

“The match is what interested me,” Havenick says. “I wanted to maximize my ability to help Penn. … My closest relationships all stemmed from my time at Penn, and I feel very indebted,” says the former College economics major. “The people you meet, the networks you form, the opportunities you receive—they’re second to none. I don’t know of any place for people looking to go out into the business world that’s better than Penn.”

Havenick is Vice President of Operations and General Counsel for the flourishing Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida, which he helped found four and a half years ago. Even with an expanding business to manage and two young sons at home, Havenick still makes Penn a priority. He has interviewed prospective students in his area, raised funds for his class gift, and most recently served on the host committee for an alumni event in Miami. As to why he has stayed so involved, Havenick says, “The University shaped and influenced a lot of things I’ve done and a lot of paths I’ve taken in life. I’m very appreciative.”

Generosity to Penn runs deep in the Havenick family. “My mother [Barbara Hecht Havenick, CW’72] and father [the late Fred S. Havenick] did a similar scholarship, and it was an interesting experience,” says Alex Havenick, noting that his mother enjoys learning about the accomplishments of her scholarship recipients each year. “I would hope my kids would one day have the same opportunity and feel the same affinity. … In my opinion, it’s the best institution in the country.”