News

Campus dinner honors scholars and donors

Mar 31, 2011

   

Students thank donors, tell how scholarships changed their lives

By Annmarie Ely

Scholarship money helped a local DelVal student go from gathering change just to have enough to eat to entering a prestigious Ph.D. program.

Jamie Shetzline ’11, who spoke at DelVal’s annual Scholarship Donor Appreciation Dinner on March 30, put a face on the importance of scholarships.

“I know everyone is very grateful for the scholarships you provide,” said Shetzline, a self described “local girl” who has been accepted into Clemson University’s chemistry Ph.D. program.

She didn’t start out with a lot of money to put towards her education. Her mother suffered from health problems and was unable to work.

“There were times when my mom and I would gather change just so we could have food,” said Shetzline. “I had a rude awakening coming to me. I had no idea how I was going to pay for college.”

Shetzline said she got into a routine of going to the financial aid office to apply for scholarships if she came up a couple thousand dollars short. She always got the money she needed to fill those gaps.

The determined student said some of the financial pressure eased after she landed a full time co-op position at Merck. In order to keep her scholarships, she worked while continuing to go to school full time.

“None of this would’ve been possible without scholarships. I wouldn’t be graduating, I wouldn’t be working at Merck and I wouldn’t be getting my Ph.D.,” said Shetzline. “I know everyone here is grateful for every single cent.”

She plans to work for Clemson and, in exchange, the university will cover the cost of her education there.

Shetzline is just one of the students at DelVal receiving scholarship support.

The university holds a dinner each year to honor the students and thank all of the donors. This year, about 130 people attended. Approximately 70 of the guests were scholarship recipients. Endowed scholarships ranging from about $75 to more than $10,000 were awarded to recipients.

“This is one of my favorite events because we really get a chance to honor you folks for what you’ve accomplished,” said College President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan. “Scholarships make higher education more affordable and more accessible…all the folks in this room, they’re our future.”

Another graduating senior, Scott Kresge, told the donors how scholarships made his story possible. Both of his older sisters were already at DelVal when it was his turn to look for colleges. At first he said he didn’t want to attend DelVal under the watchful eyes of his siblings.

In the end, it was between Penn State and DelVal because those were the schools with the best programs for his major.

He decided that the idea of having his sisters keep an eye on him was a lot less frightening than the idea of being lost at a school as big as Penn State, so he came to DelVal.

“That was a nice 1-2 punch for my parents,” said Kresge. “I was the third in college at the same time.”

He is now student teaching at Upper Bucks County Technical School and starting his search for full time work.

“The thread tying that all together has been financial aid,” said Kresge.

Kresge said scholarships significantly reduced the amount of student loans he had to take out allowing him to focus on his passion for teaching.

He said he can now look to lower paying school districts that might need teachers because he doesn’t have to worry about paying back a lot of debt right away.

Students who receive scholarships often come back and make major contributions to help other people.

Dr. Joshua Feldstein, a former college president who attended the dinner in Moumgis Auditorium, was supported by scholarships when he came to the college as a student in 1939. Today, he helps make sure deserving students can afford an education by providing scholarship funding.

“The only way we can remain viable as an independent institution is through scholarships,” said Dr. Brosnan. “There’s a great deal at stake.”

With less government support coming in for both students and institutions he told donors “the support you’re providing becomes more important every day.”