AUBG Alumni Pledge Exceeds $300,000 Goal for Year One
The AUBG alumni have been traditionally involved with the university, both as generous donors and vocal supporters of the university’s mission. In 2019, they took their commitment to AUBG to the next level with the announcing of the AUBG Alumni Pledge that aims to donate $5,000,000 to the university over a decade.
Less than a year after its launch, the ambitious initiative, led by the AUBG Alumni Association, has been more than successful. Thanks to over 150 alumni and several particularly generous donations, the goal of $300,000 for Year One of the Pledge has been surpassed.
“I feel so grateful and humbled by how many alumni are taking it as an honor and as an obligation to go out, call fellow graduates and ask them to contribute,” said initiator of the pledge Deyan Vassilev (‘95). “The pledge helps the community and the community helps the pledge.”
And while the pledge has reached its nominal goal, AUBG alumni are still more than welcome to contribute, Vassilev said, explaining that they can join Year One of the Pledge by the end of AUBG’s fiscal year in June 2020. “Let’s keep the energy high and try to get to 200-300 alumni donations,” Vassilev said. Every donation, regardless of its size, can make a difference and is proof of how united the AUBG community is, he said. The ten-year goal of the pledge is to reach 25% alumni participation.
Svetozar Georgiev (‘00), co-founder of Telerik, Telerik Academy and Campus X, pledged to donate $50,000 to AUBG over five years. “For me personally, the biggest reward in life is to help others succeed,” he said. “We are lots of people, and our collective capabilities are substantial. So, we just need to keep catalyzing this collective energy because every community needs to be managed and maintained, or it might linger and lose momentum.”
Two $100,000 donations come from Krassen Draganov (‘96) and Dilian Pavlov (‘95), who are co-founders of Dynamo Software, a leading investment management software provider with 220 employees on four continents. “AUBG was a trampoline for us and it helped us when we needed help,” Draganov said in an interview at the AUBG alumni gathering in Boston earlier this year. “Now, it is time for us to help and support the university that has done so many things for us. Everybody can support the university within their means, but it would be great if more people remember, connect and help the university with whatever they can.”
Pavlov’s donation will go towards AUBG scholarship support for the winners of the AUBG MultiTalent Quest, an international two-round competition for high school juniors that tests their knowledge and talents in a variety of academic skills and extracurricular interests. “The winners of the Quest are top-notch potential AUBG students because AUBG is itself a place where you can have many interests and talents,” Vassilev, who is also a driving force behind the MultiTalent Quest, said.
A graduate of the first class, Vassilev has played an instrumental role in supporting the university in various capacities. “It will not be an overstatement to say that AUBG has shaped and continues to shape my life in many ways,” he said. “We were the founding class of the university and we helped create it from scratch. In 1991, there was a building, a dozen professors, a hundred students and 30 books in the library. It was make-believe: let’s make a university, let’s create a student government, let’s create a radio station, let’s create a choir, let’s create sports clubs.”
Twenty-eight years later, AUBG has about 1000 current students, over 30 student clubs, one of the largest English-language libraries in Eastern Europe, professors coming from the best schools on five continents and over 4,000 alumni from more than 80 countries. Those alumni now hold leading positions in international companies, have launched their own successful businesses, or change the world through their work in government, education, or the NGO sector. They stay connected to AUBG and feel the urge to give back to the university that shaped them both personally and professionally.
Vassilev, who is the founder and CEO of Bulgaria’s first mortgage brokerage and credit consulting company in Bulgaria Creditland.bg and of the leading financial comparison portal in the country Moitepari.bg, is one good example of the AUBG values. “I have continued to be entrepreneurial in my business life and have learned this proactive attitude at AUBG,” he said. “I like to refer to the ‘Spirit of AUBG’ that we created as a founding class and that continues to live on. The goal is to find new carriers of this spirit, of this community life. I think that AUBG’s future really depends on us as alumni and if we all believe AUBG was and still is so unique and important for the region and our lives, then we have to do enough to support it.”
We reached out to some of the other graduates that played an essential role in setting up and advancing the Alumni Pledge and asked them about their reasons to join it.
Petar Svarc (‘02)
"Every AUBGer’s experience is a unique journey. Still, most of us would agree that these four years in Blagoevgrad are transformative. At life’s key junction, AUBG gives you every chance to discover and test yourself in all aspects.
Not too long before it ends, you suddenly realize that it was an amazing ride, which you won’t be able to repeat. Looking for continuation, it dawns on you that thousands of others will. Watching a new generation of students from afar, we jealously and gleefully browse through all the memories they are yet to inevitably collect. A different set of memories, for sure, but the core is the same.
This core makes AUBG a unique phenomenon imagined by freedom-hungry visionaries -- wise, thoughtful and determined enough to render it real. Against odds and out of virtually nothing, they shaped an exceptional melting pot, which keeps creating a lifetime’s worth of lasting personal bonds and life lessons by exposing us daily to the unexpected and the unknown.
In honor of those who made it possible and for the certain benefit of those who are still to come, I feel obliged to help enable AUBG as a self-perpetuating, wonderful and growing story."
Paulina Nikolova (EMBA ‘16)
"I graduated the EMBA program at AUBG in 2016 and that was an incredible and awakening experience for me. I had the privilege to meet and work with so many amazing people, most of them I call friends today, and I decided that the graduation ceremony will not be the end of this journey. At AUBG I keep on meeting other like-minded people whose energy and commitment to our community is contagious. I believe this is what makes AUBG so special and all of us strong - the power and energy, the sense of belonging."
Krassen Draganov (‘96)
"AUBG helped me on so many different levels that it is only natural for me to give back!
Independence (away from mom and dad for the first time), entrepreneurship (I started my first company while in AUBG), self-discipline (get the papers submitted on time), team spirit (all those class projects), fun (some of the best years of my life), friendships that last for life!
AUBG is a unique institution that helps identify and develop exceptional people – we need to support it so it continues to deliver on its mission!"
Vladimir Borachev (‘95)
"Fellow alumni, winning in life is a responsibility to work with humility, ethics and integrity in the academic, corporate, entrepreneurial, or NGO sectors. Winning is a responsibility to be an example to the ones that would come after you and the ones that you would guide. It is a responsibility to win in life in a positive, fair and human way. It is a responsibility to extend a hand to the ones that would fall behind and to give back. Please, join hundreds of other alumni and me and give back via the Alumni Pledge in support of AUBG! Choose your cause after you click on the “Donate now” button on the AUBG Alumni Pledge page. Thank you!"