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IUN celebrates student scholarship at annual event

Story Posted:11/20/2013

Chancellor bestows highest honor to campus supporters; students share inspiring stories of gratitude and success   Indiana University Northwest thanked its donors, friends and alumni at its annual celebration of student scholarships recently. The event, in which donors and scholarship recipients came together to celebrate the significance of philanthropy, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about the profound difference the gift of a scholarship makes for an individual.   Vanessa Allen, a member of the IU Northwest Board of Advisors and president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, opened the evening’s remarks. She said the affordability of earning a college degree can be a significant stumbling block for Northwest Indiana’s residents, and that as an urban regional institution, the campus is committed to its responsibility for making high-quality IU degree programs accessible.  “The Northwest campus works tirelessly to keep tuition costs low and to increase the amount of financial aid and scholarships available,” Allen said. “But, it is your philanthropic support that significantly eases students’ financial burdens, and allows the campus to continue to raise the bar of excellence in recruiting, retaining and graduating exceptional students.”  Grateful recipients   To illustrate the real-life impact one’s gift can make, five students shared their personal stories in a video created for the event. In it, they talked about how the scholarships they received enabled them to concentrate more readily on their academic success rather than the stress of paying for their education.  Those featured include: DeShanna Alexander, Emerson Neighborhood Scholarship and Hilda Richards Scholarship; Crystal Bunton, Penny MacLennan Memorial Scholarship; Ikechukwu Okafo, IU Northwest General Scholarship; Andres Santiago, Non-Traditional Student Scholarship and Leslie P. Singer Memorial Scholarship; Katherine VanDrie, Ray C. and Josephine K. Thomas Scholarship.  Gifts impact advancement of campus programs   IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe acknowledged these students for sharing their personal stories and applauded their own commitment to serving others. He said they are representative of the entire student body.   “The students with us tonight are excellent representatives of the IU Northwest student community,” Lowe said. “They, like so many others, balance classwork, jobs and family commitments, and are active volunteers on and off campus. Their commitment to serving others demonstrates that our students are learning the importance of giving back. We are here, tonight, to support them, and their student colleagues, on their individual journeys.”  In addition to supporting the students through scholarship, Lowe emphasized that giving also impacts the advancement of the campus and the programs it provides to further student success. Lowe summarized some highlights of recent growth at the IU Northwest campus, including the approval of a new academic building, a record-breaking enrollment of nearly 6,400 students, the impressive amount of service learning hours put in by students and faculty, and campus beautification efforts.  The Chancellor’s Medallion   As the evening’s highlight, Lowe honored four couples who have rendered distinguished service to the University and the community by bestowing his highest honor, The Chancellor’s Medallion. “Their efforts have been instrumental in advancing IU Northwest, and, in particular, supporting our greatest asset, our students,” Lowe said. All the recipients are Northwest Indiana natives who remain deeply invested in the region. They are: Milford and Margaret Christenson, Barbara and Garrett (1928-2013) Cope, John and Betsy MacLennan, and Joseph and Joanna Thomas.  “Through their thoughtfulness, generosity and commitment to IU and IU Northwest, these four couples have made a difference,” Lowe said. “In their different ways, they tell the story of the margin of excellence at IU Northwest.”  Paula Jenkins, vice president for Development, regional campuses, IU Foundation, explained that scholarships not only help the student, they help the student’s entire family and the broader community. “Think about scholarships in a larger sense,” she continued. “The generosity that creates a scholarship creates the next doctor, the next entrepreneur, the next scientist, the next artist, the next teacher, and so on. The opportunity to pursue an education might not exist without the scholarship support that propels a student forward. And at some time in the future, that student, now a professional, remembers how much that support meant to their own dreams, and they in turn give back — many times in the form of a scholarship of their own. And you see how a legacy of generosity develops. When you create a scholarship, the impact lasts forever.”  Lowe reminded the attendees that in addition to providing financial support, there are many ways to support IU Northwest. Whether it is volunteering for an alumni or advisory board, attending events on campus, or simply spreading the word about IU Northwest’s high-quality programs and first-rate academic experience, all can contribute to student success.    “There is a lot happening here at IU Northwest and much about which to be very proud,” Lowe said. “It will take all of us working together to ensure that our students have access to an excellent, affordable Indiana University education.”   

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