Expressing gratitude can have a lasting effect, and in the Purdue University College of Agriculture, there is no shortage of gratitude.
For students, the annual College of Agriculture Scholarship Dinner is an opportunity to thank their scholarship donors who provide funding for their Purdue educations.
“It allows us, as students, to put faces with names of the generous donors of our scholarships and build connections with our alumni,” says Cameron Frazier, senior in agricultural economics and agricultural communications.
The Scholarship Dinner is organized by the College of Agriculture Office of Advancement, the event recognizes the donors who have made scholarship opportunities possible. Donors are also updated on the advances and contributions being made to the college through the generosity of donors and the students they support.
“As scholarship recipients, we all write thank you notes to our donors expressing our gratitude. However, a quick note never seems like enough to say just how grateful I am,” says Paige Stevenson, a junior studying agricultural economics. “This dinner allows me to connect personally with my donor, and to express out loud just how much the gift means to me.”
“Meeting my donor made my scholarship more personal and has made me even more grateful for the gift,” says Sabrina Myoda, a junior in sustainable food and farming systems. “While at the dinner, I saw many of my fellow classmates, impressing upon me just how much talent the students in the College of Agriculture have.”
The 2016 Scholarship Dinner was held September 23 in Purdue Memorial Union. 370 people attended the event and 95 College of Agriculture scholarships were represented. President Daniels began the program followed by students, staff and Dean Akridge each speaking to the theme, “Where has Purdue taken you?”
Marissa Lorenz, a senior studying Animal Sciences says “I am so grateful to have received a College of Agriculture Scholarship. My particular donors have sponsored me for the past three years, and because of this I have been able to build a special relationship with them that will last beyond my time at Purdue. It means so much to me that other people are willing to invest in students.”
Included in the evening’s program was two special recognitions. Land O’ Lakes was recognized for the company’s longstanding support of the College of Agriculture, and a special gift was presented to David and Joanna Schroeder for their support of seven scholarships.
“The College of Agriculture Scholarship Dinner is the one event at Purdue that I most want to come north 450 miles to attend,” says David Schroeder.
“The pleasure of being with young, energetic, optimistic, successful students goes unmatched the rest of the year. I see that as progress at Purdue and am proud of my alma mater for that achievement.”
The Schroeders’ College of Agriculture scholarships include the Bernard Axelrod Memorial Scholarship in Biochemistry, the John and Mary Trice Marsh Scholarship, the Ray W. Fuller Memorial Scholarship in Biochemistry, the Henry Andrew and Ida Sophia Sailer Weeking Memorial Scholarship, and the William Henry and Matilda Marie Sailer Schroeder Memorial Scholarship.
For memorial scholarship donors, seeing the benefit a student receives from a scholarship given in a loved one’s name is especially rewarding.
“It was extremely heartwarming to have the opportunity to meet the recipients of the memorial scholarships that were granted in my husband’s honor,” says Geney Liechty, a donor for the Ned Liechty Memorial Scholarship in honor of her late husband, who was a farmer from Berne, IN.
“I am sure he would be pleased if he were aware that these scholarships were being used to fulfill young students’ dreams of obtaining a degree from Purdue in preparation for a career in agriculture.”
On a night when donors and students are given the opportunity to thank one another for their continued support of agriculture, there is also gratitude for the college bringing donors and students together.
“I can’t thank donors enough for giving back to Purdue agriculture and for allowing an evening of stories, fellowship and good company,” says Frazier.
The Scholarship Dinner is an event Schroeder is certain to annually attend. “I want these dinners to continue so that I can attend as long as I am able,” he says.
This event is meant to say thank you to very special College of Agriculture supporters, but it also inspires students to think about what they can do. “I hope that in the future I am able to give back to students just as I have been given to during my time at Purdue,” says Lorenz.
Maybe one day, the students in the room will come back to the dinner as a donor.