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Why I Give: Cohl Cliburn, Class of '24

"Why I Give" is a weekly message from The LSMSA Foundation which highlights one donor and their reasons for making a tax-deductible gift in support of the organization.

One of the most talked-about gifts received by The LSMSA Foundation during its Pi Day of Giving Fundraiser on March 14 didn’t come from an alum—it came from current LSMSA senior and Lafayette native Cohl Cliburn (’24). Joined by his friend Cody Williams (’24), Cliburn went door-to-door in the Living Learning Commons soliciting small donations and handing out free Moon Pies. In the end, Cliburn’s plan netted more than forty small gifts to the Foundation. As a show of appreciation for his efforts, The LSMSA Foundation awarded Cliburn the LSMSA Spirit Belt during a convocation held on Pi Day.

“I wasn’t exactly expecting that to happen, but I’m glad that it did,” Cliburn said. “I enjoyed the whole aspect of helping the school out, because the school has helped me.”

The secret of Cliburn’s success may have been the Moon Pies, which he distributed “to get people into the spirit of Pi Day” before circling back to ask for a small donation from those who’d accepted a pie. Cliburn received gifts as small as twenty-five cents, which he happily accepted “because small donors can grow into large donors over time. But I told everyone that I wouldn’t accept anything less than a quarter.”  

Though he appears to have a knack for fundraising, Cliburn has other plans for the future; after graduation he will move to Oxford, England, where he will study biomedical sciences at the prestigious University of Oxford.

Pi Day of Giving is an annual fundraiser benefiting Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) and organized by The LSMSA Foundation. The LSMSA Foundation selected March 14 as Pi Day due to the date—the first three figures of pi are 3.14. The 2024 fundraiser raised more than $87,000, nearly doubling the organization’s stated goal of $50,000. The LSMSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to develop and manage resources that enhance the work of LSMSA.

LSMSA is a tuition-free, public high school for high-achieving rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a nominal room and board fee to cover housing, meals, and campus activities. The LSMSA Foundation offers assistance for families in need to ensure that no eligible student is denied the school’s 40-year legacy of a premium college-level living/learning experience. For more information about the Louisiana School or to submit an application for the 2024-25 academic school year, visit www.LSMSA.edu.