Yesterday, across campus, we gathered for events and activities held in celebration of University Day. It was a day to recognize the special format of a Liberal Arts education offered at our beloved 54-year-old Swiss-American university. I was reminded of the transformative power of community support in the activities that brought us together. For me, this reflection goes beyond nostalgia; it's a journey back to my own time at Franklin, a journey shaped by the generosity of others.

Two decades ago, I embarked on my Franklin journey as a scholarship recipient, driven by a thirst for knowledge and a determination to get out and into the world. Like many of you, my experience at Franklin was nothing short of extraordinary. From the captivating classes to the vibrant campus life, Franklin became my home away from home—a place where dreams were nurtured and futures were forged.

But behind every success story lies a network of support, and I am forever grateful for the community that stood by me during my time at Franklin. As one of the first in my family to be able to attend university, it was thanks to the generosity of alumni, family, and friends that I was able to pursue my education. Their belief in me and their investment in my future laid the foundation for the opportunities that awaited.

In looking back, I am all the more grateful today. It was at Franklin that I began learning Arabic and Italian which have served me in my career and enriched my personal life. It was here, in Lugano, that I discovered the kind of community member that I wanted to be. It was here that I began to get a sense of the immense pleasure in understanding more of the world, others, and oneself. 

Now, as the Director of Advancement and Alumni, I am delighted to be serving a community that continues to empower current and future generations of Franklin students. On April 24th, we come together once again for Franklin's Giving Day, a day dedicated to supporting the Franklin Fund.

The Franklin Fund, with its flexibility to address the university's current needs, plays a pivotal role in sustaining the unique experiences we offer our students. As tuition covers only 60% of our required budget, the support we receive through the Franklin Fund is essential in ensuring that every student has access to the transformative education that defines the Franklin experience.

Why give to the Franklin Fund? Because I know firsthand the impact it can have. Because I have seen the difference it makes in the lives of students, just like me, who dream of and strive for excellence. Your contributions, regardless of size, are a testament to the collective strength of our community—a community united in its commitment to unlocking extraordinary journeys.

As we celebrate Giving Day this year, I invite you to join me in empowering future leaders, in creating opportunities where none existed before. Your support matters in the lives of our students.

Together, let's ensure that every student's journey at Franklin is as exceptional as ours was.

Nickolas Neibauer '05, Director of Advancement and Alumni at Franklin University Switzerland