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Dinner brings scholars and donors together

For students like Mikayla Applegate, an Agricultural Sciences Education and Communications (ASEC) senior, the scholarships she’s received over the years aren’t just acknowledgments of her excellent coursework and campus-wide engagement, they are what will allow her to graduate in May free of school-loans.

“I will make it out of college without paying any out-of-pocket costs for college, which with three siblings is a really amazing feat,” Applegate said.

Dean Warren, a Purdue ASEC alumni, funded several scholarships over the years for Purdue students, including Applegate. He also recently set up an endowment to provide more future Boilermakers with funding.

“I’ve always been interested in agriculture. It’s all I’ve done, all I’ve lived, and now, with this endowment, it will be what I’m doing even after I’m gone,” Warren added.

Warren and Applegate, who want to go into education, had the chance to learn more about each other and the different career paths for ASEC students. The Scholarship Dinner, hosted on Friday, Sept. 13, provided multiple such opportunities for students to interact with the benefactors in exactly this manner. This year the dinner was attended by 133 donors and 174 students.

“It’s not often students are afforded the opportunity to thank their donors in person,” said Kyle Bymaster, chief development officer in the Agricultural Advancement Office. “Even rarer is when donors can enjoy interacting with students they’ve sponsored, learning about their interests and passions. This year there was $2.2 million awarded in scholarship support to just over 1,600 students. This means over 50 percent of students in the College of Agriculture receive scholarship support.”

It’s also a means for Purdue alumni to continue honoring family. The John F. Benham Citizenship and Leadership Memorial Scholarship was established 45 years ago by John Allen Benham’s mother, in honor of her husband and Benham’s father.

“My sisters and I now support the scholarship,” Benham added. “It’s a good way to honor my mother and father while looking towards the next generation. My entire family, except for me, went to Purdue.”

Brenna Porsche, a botany student, sat with Steve and Mary Jane Dale who have funded the 
Steve and Mary Jane Dale Scholarship
 for many years. Porsche, who is from Iowa and Kansas, said it can be difficult to find scholarships open to out-of-state students. And what’s even more challenging than that?

“I work a full-time job and I am a full-time student,” Porsche said. “I couldn’t have balanced all that without support from Steve and Mary and all the other people in this room.”

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