During April Visit Days in 2009, Vic Krivitski ’12 decided that Colgate needed a laugh. So, drawing on his skills as an avid climber, the 240-pound rugby lock took an unusual route from the fourth floor of West Hall to the Quad: he rappelled out the window, smiling and waving as he went.

Vic lost an eight-month battle with cancer in August 2011. His classmates wondered how they could honor someone who was so much larger than life. Together, under the leadership of the Senior Class Gift Committee, they decided to create the Victor Krivitski ’12 Memorial Scholarship Fund.

At this year’s commencement on May 20, President Jeffrey Herbst announced that the Class of 2012 had set a new participation record of 95 percent thanks to 680 gifts to the Krivitski fund. A total of 1,318 students, alumni, parents, and friends invested in the scholarship, which now holds more than $96,000.

“Vic was a very outgoing, enthusiastic, engaged person,” said Michael Schon ’12, who helped coordinate fundraising in the university’s Greek life organizations. “He was also on financial aid, and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor his legacy.”

The class gift committee originally planned Vic’s scholarship drive as a five-year effort, because endowments require a minimum investment of $50,000. By setting up tables in the Coop, hosting trivia night at the Colgate Inn, canvassing fraternity and sorority houses, throwing parties, and sponsoring the traditional Toll House pie-eating contest, the Class of 2012 was on track to raise two-thirds of that amount before commencement.

In April, an anonymous rugby alumnus stepped forward with a pledge of $50,000 if seniors could achieve 90-percent participation. Success would mean that a student in need would receive the scholarship during the 2012–2013 academic year. “It gave us an incentive to work even harder,” said class gift committee chair Michele Tetenbaum ’12.

Seniors officially hit the target on May 4, but they didn’t stop; they continued soliciting and receiving gifts, including 39 from senior class brunch attendees on May 6. The additional push toppled records set by the classes of 2008 and 2009.

A big, record-setting gift in memory of a man who was himself a massive presence on this close-knit campus — it makes perfect sense to those who knew Vic best. “The gift signifies everything that is Vic,” said Schon. “His legacy lives on through the scholarship.”