The 21st Annual Scholarship Reception was held on Friday, March 30 at 3:00 pm in Wilson Hall. Administrators, faculty, staff, donors, scholarship recipients and their families gathered together to celebrate scholarships received.
According to Jeffery Mills, Vice President for University Advancement, 373 students received endowed or sponsored scholarships for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters. The total money given amounted to just over one million dollars.
According to Vice President for Students and Community Services Mary Ann Nagy, the event’s main purpose is to give donors and scholarship recipients a chance to meet each other.
“I think it is wonderful that the University brings together the donors and student recipients of these scholarships each year. As someone who supports both an annual and now endowed scholarship, I appreciate the opportunity to meet my students and learn more about them,” Nagy said.
Nagy also said that it is important for the students to meet people who have made a financial commitment to helping others so they can understand the meaning of giving back when they are able to do so in the future. “We want students to understand the responsibility of giving back whenever we can,” Nagy said.
The event opened with President Paul Gaffney’s speech, updating students, faculty, families and donors about the University’s current accomplishments.
“Before I see you again in this venue next year, we will be on our way to accreditation to offer Physical Assistant Program, have a first permanent home off-campus for some grad programs, a new art building, a new residential hall underway and some upgrades in science … and maybe a few more tangible bits of evidence of progress,” Gaffney said.
Alexa Anastasio, a junior psychology major, received the First Union Bank Scholarship as well
“The donors’ generosity enables us to receive a college education and earn a degree that will create the foundation for success in our lives. Their support inspires us to be better students, leaders, role models, and volunteers,” Anastasio said. “The scholarships we receive do not only help fund our tuition, books or housing; they inspire us to be extraordinary, to give more than we receive, to help others and create positive environments.”
As Anastasio stepped off the Wilson Hall staircase where the speeches were given, a video was shown depicting three students that have been greatly affected by their scholarships.
Danny Pompilio, a senior that attended the event in support of his friend receiving a scholarship, said that the video brought tears to many eyes.
“It was a great way to truly show the huge impact that these awards have on us, students. The applause at the conclusion of the video really showed the support and caring nature of the donors,” Pompilio said.
Afroditi Emporelli, a senior biology major, was the recipient of the Dr. A & H Strauss Science Scholarship and the Samuel H. Magill Scholarship, established by the former University president.
“These scholarships have not only helped me pay for my education, they have encouraged me to pursue my dream in becoming a doctor. It is an honor to be recognized for my hard work,” Emporelli said.
Scott Mayes, a senior marine biology major, recieved the Cape Eulethera Institute Scholarship which allowed him to take a class called “Tropical Island Ecology” in the Bahamas from January 1 to January 14.
“The scholarship gave me a one in a lifetime opportunity to do something that others may never have the chance to do,” Mayes said. According to Gaffney, a few generous donors are giving the University new facilities, the employee giving campaign has risen well over $200,000, and the scholarship donors are setting new standards of donations.
“This really is the nicest of ceremonies all year. It’s simply a heartfelt thank you ceremony,” Gaffney said.
PHOTO COURTESY of Jim Reme