Minority Scholarship Dinner
Good evening and thank you for being here tonight. Before I start, I want you to look around at the people at your table and everyone at all of the other tables. This is indeed a distinguished group, but you are also seeing something even more significant.
What you see is the legacy of the university, its current successes and, most importantly, the future of Shippensburg and the world. In this room we have donors and benefactors whose generosity enables hundreds of students to attend this great university. We also have faculty members who share their knowledge and wisdom, and others who provide the support services needed by students. And, of course, there are our students - the true heart of this university and the reason we do what we do.
I have spent most of my adult life in higher education, first as a faculty member, then as an administrator and now, as a president. Every day I get up knowing that each day is important to our students. It is important that they gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. It is important that they learn from our outstanding faculty. And it is important that they have the chance to meet new people, make new friends and see life from a new perspective.
But most important is that they have the chance to attend Shippensburg, and that's what we are celebrating tonight - the chance for talented and deserving students to be part of the university family and to reach their dreams.
This is a celebration of the spirit of generosity. It is a chance by the university, and by the student scholarship recipients, to thank the many individuals in this room - and those who couldn't't be here - for what they have done for the university as a whole and for each student.
The fact that we can have this celebration is a testament to many groups and individuals. I want to thank our Council of Trustees, the group that helps guide the university as we look to the future, and the Shippensburg University Foundation Board of Directors under whose leadership the foundation has raised funds needed for scholarships and other projects.
We are blessed at Shippensburg to have a cadre of faculty that I think are the best anywhere. Through their efforts, inside and outside of the classroom, our students are truly preparing for the future. That is also true for the members of the scholarship committee, led by chair Dr. Marcie Lehman, which works to attract, select and support our scholarship recipients.
In addition, the work done by members of the other divisions in the university and by our staff associates and others is also instrumental in this process.
Nowhere, however, is thanks more deserved than what we all owe to the benefactors who have so generously given of their resources and of their time. Your dedication and commitment to Ship, and your faith in and hope for these students is a wonderful example of altruism that exemplifies the best human nature can offer.
I've had the pleasure to meet with many donors and to hear the reasons why they have endowed scholarships. The reasons are as varied as the donors, but they all do have some similarities. One is the belief that our students are the best hope we all have for our world's future. None of us know what each of these students will eventually achieve, but we do know that they will use their Shippensburg education - the one they earned thanks to their scholarship - to be successful.
Another similarity among donors is their belief in giving back, in offering to others what they may have been offered or what they may have needed earlier in life. This spirit of sharing is a hallmark of our donors and is what makes them such wonderful individuals.
They know that the resources they donate are actually an investment in both our students and our university. It is also an investment in our future as these students will soon be the leaders of our world, the ones who - I am sure - will meet whatever challenges that we will face.
Some of our donors are also alumni and they have a unique connection with their alma mater. Others contribute because they recognize the importance of education and the role it plays in life. We deeply appreciate all of the contributions and pledge to use the money effectively.
The cost of higher education has increased in recent years and because of that comes an increased need in funds for scholarships. Also, with a planned increase in the number of undergraduates next fall, more money is needed to provide additional or expanded scholarships to talented and deserving students so they, too, will have the opportunity to have a Shippensburg education. Your continued and, I hope, enhanced support will make those opportunities real.
I know that the scholarship recipients are thankful for this additional support, and that is why so many of them are here tonight - to say thank you and to show that the funds are being used wisely. To each of you, I want you to remember what your scholarship means to you and how it has helped. You are now part of a legacy and I encourage you to share that with other talented high school students so they, too, will consider Shippensburg as the place they want to continue to learn.
It is also important that after you graduate that you remember the importance of your scholarship and, I hope, you, too, will contribute to our many scholarships or even establish one yourself. By adding to the available scholarships, you will again say thanks, and honor those who have given to you.
Many of you may have seen the new billboards that we have posted throughout the region. The billboards focus on various words that end in Ship, words that epitomize this great institution. And examples of those words are seen in this room tonight.
Leadership. Look around and see the future leaders of business, industry, education and many other fields.
Partnership. We are all partners as we each, in our own way, work to help students reach their goals.
Stewardship. I promise that the resources that have been so graciously shared with us will be used to ensure that Shippensburg University and its students live up to the high standards that are expected of us.
Entrepreneurship. Internship, Championship, Citizenship and, I say with great pride, Flagship!
We are Ship. Thank you for being here and thank you for celebrating the unique spirit of Shippensburg.