September 5, 2003

2003 Vanderbilt Community Giving Campaign begins with kickoff celebration

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Joel Lee, Associate Vice Chancellor for Medical Center Communications, thanks Patricia Peerman, director of enrollment management in the School of Nursing, for sharing her story about being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Rusty Russell

2003 Vanderbilt Community Giving Campaign begins with kickoff celebration

More than 200 department coordinators gathered in Light Hall last week for the Vanderbilt Community Giving Campaign kickoff.

This year’s fundraiser, which benefits the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Community Shares, and Community Health Charities of Tennessee and their related organizations and agencies, aims to raise $810,000.

Department coordinators and other guests were welcomed by the Vanderbilt Commodore mascot, “Champ” the Children’s Hospital mascot, and two Vanderbilt cheerleaders.

Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, who spoke at the kickoff, praised the work of fellow employees involved in the Vanderbilt campaign.

“I can’t think of anything we do here at Vanderbilt as a community that has the impact it has for those around us in middle Tennessee, than the Community Giving Campaign,” he said.

Linda Norman, DSN, senior associate dean for Academics in the School of Nursing, who is this year’s campaign chair, thanked the department coordinators for their efforts.

“I know you have busy schedules and are working hard in the real job you have. We appreciate your help in making this a success. I am confident that we will meet and exceed our goal,” Norman said.

Joel Lee, associate vice chancellor for medical center communications, introduced the crowd to three Vanderbilt employees whose lives have been touched by the three designated federations for this year’s campaign.

Patricia Peerman, R.N., director of enrollment management in the School of Nursing and assistant professor of Nursing, spoke about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992. Peerman said the MS Society, an agency that operates through Community Health Charities of Tennessee, helped her family through her diagnosis. Peerman’s brother also has the disease.

“The MS Society helped me learn about the disease as a patient, a family member, and a provider. Their materials helped me get through the transition and helped my family members,” Peerman said. “The MS Society gives money for research. I am a recipient of research money, indirectly. Over $1.2 million has been given to Vanderbilt for research efforts through the MS Society, so we certainly get more than we give in.

Shelley Nason, manager of the University registrar’s office, also encouraged the crowd to motivate their coworkers to contribute. As a single mother, she turned to Big Brothers of Tennessee, a United Way agency, for mentoring and a male influence in her son Andrew’s life.

“My son needed some guidance. A mom can do everything, and I really can, but I thought he needed a buddy or a big brother,” Nason said. “He has a mentor, someone he can talk to, they email each other, it has been a wonderful experience.”

The campaign will run through Nov. 3, and all pledge cards received by the closing date will be entered into a grand prize drawing for two plane tickets to anywhere in the United States. There is an early bird prize for the Best of Nashville, for employees who turn them in by Oct. 1. For more information about the Vanderbilt Community Giving Campaign, call Adam Chapman, at 322-8587 or email