The Future on Display: SUU's 10th Annual Scholarship LuncheonFebruary 19, 2009
Many of Southern Utah University’s brightest and most talented students gathered Wednesday afternoon with one common goal: to give thanks.
Joining the students, were SUU alumni, friends and local community members. And together, this group comprised the donor base for SUU’s more than 250 privately funded scholarships and endowments that benefit thunderbird students on an annual basis.
And though the event was intended to bring students on scholarship together with those who are funding their educational experience at SUU, the thank yous came from both camps.
According to donor Glen Halterman of Parowan, who created the Glen L. & Flora Renee Halterman Scholarship, "We [donors] get just about as much good out of these scholarships as these students, just in a different way." He added, "It is a great joy and satisfaction to be able to give back."
SUU President Michael Benson reiterated this idea, speaking of these scholarships as an investment in the future.
According to Benson, two of the most important steps in higher education have been taken during some of the country's toughest times: the signing of the Morrill Land Grant act of 1862 that established colleges and universities in every state during the Civil War and the GI Bill of 1944 that made future provisions for veterans of World War II.
Likening the efforts of individual donors to such educational provisions of the past, Benson said that during especially difficult economic times, “it is vitally important and a great time to invest in students and higher education.”
Chemistry major Aaron Dahlin, a scholarship recipient from Cedar City said of the students on scholarship, “With your help,” speaking to the donors, “we will become the giants of the future. We will push others up just as you [donors] have.”
Dahlin was not alone in offering his thanks. In addition to the three other students who spoke at the luncheon, the more than 50 students in attendance all had the opportunity to visit with their benefactors personally. And though most were strangers as they sat down to eat, the room buzzed with a gracious excitement at the afternoon’s end, as several students and donors embraced, shook hands and exchanged promises to continue making an impact – both donors and students alike.