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Scholarship recipients show gratitude

Students gather to write letters of appreciation to the donors of their scholarships.

Stewardship (n.) – an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources.

Bonnie Anderson, Director of Alumni Relations, works hard to honor those who have provided scholarship funds to the College of Business and Economics.

"It's important to take the time to communicate with our donors on how their money is being used," Anderson said, "and it's also important for the donor to hear from the student if possible."

Anderson hosted an event where scholarship recipients came in professional attire to have professional headshots taken and to write thank you letters to their donors. What struck her most was the fact that the students took the letter writing very seriously.

"You could have heard a pin drop," she said.

Indeed, many students have a mature appreciation for the funds they have so generously been given.

"Receiving the Mullendore Award has been extremely beneficial," said James Sirockman, a senior finance student from Morgantown. "It's reduced the financial burden of college, allowing me to focus more on my studies and less about money," he said. He is one of four recipients of the James M. and Kristine B. Mullendore Award.

Students pause for a photo opp with scholarship donors John and Robert Lynch and Dean Sartarelli.

Cassie Dawson, an accounting student, agreed.

"The R. Emmett & Edna Lynch Scholarship was the ultimate factor that led to me choosing to go to West Virginia University," she said. "Without this award, I would not be able to consider studying abroad, I would not have found enjoyment in accounting, and I would not have made some incredible connections within B&E. I could not be more thankful for it."

More than 60 students participated in the letter writing event. But that's not the only way students are able to express their gratitude to donors. The Office of Development also makes an effort to facilitate physical meetings between donors and the students who have been impacted by their generosity. Some donors participate on various committees or boards at B&E, and Anderson strives to make introductions when the donors come to campus.

In some cases, like that of Ph.D. student Kathleen Sheehan, students travel with development staff to meet the individuals who made their studies possible. Sheehan is the recipient of the W. Marston & Katharine B. Becker Doctoral Fellowship. She traveled with Laura McCall, Director of Development, to meet Marty and Katharine Becker in their hometown of Charleston, W.Va., over lunch.

"I liked having the opportunity to thank them in person and let them know what the fellowship has meant to me," Sheehan said, explaining that the fellowship opened doors to new opportunities.

"This semester I didn't have to teach, which allowed me to do a visiting dissertation fellowship at George Mason, which allowed me to meet new people and make connections," she said. "I was able to do that because this fellowship gave me the freedom to work on research this semester. I've also been able to go to more conferences than I otherwise could have, which is really important for building up a strong network."

Every year, dreams are made possible at the College of B&E thanks to the generosity of our donors. The art of thanking is important, Anderson said, and it is equally important that donors understand how impactful their gifts are to members of the B&E family.