ALUMNA AND FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER SUPPORTS 250TH AND BEYOND FUND
Tina Cundari '96
Tina Cundari is a lawyer in Columbia. She has spent the majority of her career in private practice and most recently served as Chief of the Civil Division at the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition to practicing law, Tina practices yoga and has taught a weekly class since 2014. Tina proudly serves her alma mater as a member of the Foundation Board, where she chairs the Development Committee.
How did you initially learn about or connect with CofC?
I graduated from the College in 1996. I began giving to the College as a way to pay back the scholarship I received. Initially I gave smaller gifts. But over time, and as I was able to do so, I began making larger gifts. This past year, my husband and I included a planned gift to the College in our estate plan.
You have contributed to the 250th and Beyond Fund. Why do you enjoy giving to the College?
I enjoy giving to the College because the College changed my life. The College opened my eyes to the world of art and literature, and gave me a solid foundation in reading, writing and analysis, all of which have served me well in my career as a lawyer. I had the privilege of having Dr. Nan Morrison supervise my tutorial and Bachelor's Essay, which meant I met with her once a week for a year-and-a-half. It was also during college that I traveled overseas for the first time. I spent three weeks in Italy with Dr. Joe Harrison's Italian Renaissance class.
Another reason I give to the College is because I believe higher education is a good investment. A college education builds confidence and provides a foundation from which most anything is possible. A college education has the potential to impact one's family, community and the world in a positive and life-changing way.
What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy?
By investing in the College, I hope to be a part of something bigger than myself, something that has a meaningful and lasting impact.
In your opinion, what is the most pressing need at the College? Would you encourage others to donate to the College and if so, where?
I do not always know the most pressing needs of the College and those needs change over time. That's why I give to the 250th and Beyond Fund and the CofC Fund, both of which focus on the areas of highest need. I want the College to have the financial ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, to adapt and evolve as circumstances require and to serve a broad range of interests. Also, I recently made a gift to the 1967 Legacy Program, a program focused on recruiting, retaining and supporting trailblazing Black students who will become the next generation of Black leaders.
Do you have a memory about the College that has stayed with you?
Two anecdotes come to mind. The first is when I was registering for classes my freshman year. By chance, my advisor was the Director of the Honors Program. After reviewing my high school transcript and test scores, she asked me why I had not applied to the Honors Program. I had no idea what the Honors Program was. With her encouragement and guidance, I went home that afternoon and quickly completed the application and drafted the essay. I ended up being accepted into the program. The program changed my educational experience at the College and provided an instant and lasting community of support.
Another memory is my first meeting with Dr. Morrison about my tutorial. I had done the assigned reading and thought I was prepared to discuss it. When Dr. Morrison began asking me questions about what I had read, I could not answer them. She basically told me to leave and come back when I was prepared. Looking back, this was a defining moment in my education. I learned that it is one thing to read something and to think you understand it and have retained it and it is another thing to be prepared to discuss what you have read. I made sure that never happened again, with Dr. Morrison or with anyone else.