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Help our alumni scholarships grow

By Judy (Vande Hoef) Hagey (’73)

Judy Hagey

Judy Hagey

What is the most lasting impression of your college years? Judging by the level of support Dordt College enjoys from her alumni (nearly fifty percent give back financially; more than one-third of our student body are children of alumni), it appears that many Dordt alumni have positive feelings about their alma mater.

But an area that may not leave such positive feelings is the cost of attaining a college education. Paying back college loans years after graduation doesn’t leave a very positive impression even though graduates may be satisfied with their education.

That’s why in recent years the Alumni Council has advocated for additional scholarship funds—both to enhance the junior scholarship program, which has awarded nearly $40,000 to fifty-five students since its inception in 1978, and to add a scholarship program for new freshmen.

At its October meeting the council put the finishing touches on the Alumni Association Regional Scholarship program. Beginning next fall, one freshman from each of the eight regions represented by the alumni association will receive a $1000 scholarship. While that may not seem like a huge contribution to the cost of a college education, let me tell you a bit about what goes on behind the scenes to make this happen.

Establishing criteria: The idea of funding a scholarship sounds pretty simple and straightforward until you begin thinking about how to award financial assistance. Should it be based on financial need? academic ability? artistic or athletic gifts? Alumni council members discussed criteria for this new scholarship over several meetings and many months and finally reached consensus that a Dordt College Alumni Association scholarship ought to support students who value Dordt’s unique educational vision and will be living testimonies of holistic Christianity when they leave Dordt. While there was not unanimous agreement on each of the specific criteria, there was agreement that the most important thing alumni can do for Dordt College is to support students who desire the quality, biblical education that Dordt offers.

Money: Funding scholarships is a significant undertaking. With today’s return on investment we needed $175,000 in the bank before we could begin awarding $8000 in annual scholarships. Your gifts to the spring phonathon over the last few years have made what was only a dream a few years ago a reality today. But we’re only half-way to the goal the council set back in February 2004. The council envisions an alumni scholarship fund of $500,000 awarding a number of scholarships to each of the four classes.

Our goal in the spring semester is to raise the $175,000 needed to fund a second freshman scholarship in each region. It’s a challenging goal. But I challenge you to think of an investment that will pay richer dividends than investing in the lives of students. When a student calls you this spring to ask for a gift, think about the difference your gift could make for a student who has caught the vision of Dordt College. And give as you are able to give.